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Pitt-Greensburg’s Presidential Search Continues

by Chelle Jackson

The search for a new president at Pitt-Greensburg is under way.

An email, sent out on behalf of Dr. Joseph McCarthy, vice president of undergraduate studies, read, “We look forward to recruiting great candidates and finding an outstanding new President for Pitt-Greensburg.”

Dr. McCarthy is the Chair for the search committee.

This email contained a pdf of the position profile. It also encouraged recipients to recommend applicants.

In July of 2018, Dr. Sharon Smith, Pitt-Greensburg’s fourth president, announced her retirement from the position.

The search committee was selected in the following fall.

The committee was comprised of fourteen people, including the chairperson, Dr. McCarthy.

A ballot was distributed to members of the faculty to determine four of the committee members.

Dr. Russell Phillips, associate professor of psychology, was elected to the committee by his fellow associate professors.

“I want to continue to listen to the faculty to ensure I represent them fully,” Dr. Phillips said.

Kevin Kara, president of Pitt-Greensburg’s student government association, was selected to the committee by SGA.

“My only concern is that I won’t be able to push for someone who represents all of campus,” Kara said. “A lot of people don’t like to voice their opinions.”

Kara is a biology major and senior at Pitt-Greensburg. He is the only student on the committee.

Dr. Pilar Herr, assistant professor of history, was appointed to the committee by Dr. Ann Cudd, provost for The University of Pittsburgh.

“There’s always good and bad. Sometimes when a committee is too big people feel like their voices are not being heard and they shut down. If a committee is too small then there are not enough voices being heard,” Dr. Herr said.

Dr. Phillips also spoke about the high number of faculty members on the committee.

“I was concerned that there wasn’t enough staff and student representation,” Dr. Phillips said. “We want to be sure that all representatives have an opportunity to fully represent their constituents.”

The committee is scheduled to continue with their process on Thursday, Feb. 21. They are set to meet in order to review diversity and legal considerations in the search and discuss electronic access to applications.

Tuesday, March 5 is reserved to select candidates for semi-finalist interviews. This is set to take place on campus.

The semi-finalist interviews are scheduled for Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. The location will likely be the Pittsburgh airport.

On Tuesday, April 16, the committee is scheduled to review candidates and make recommendations to the provost.

“I’m going to do the best job that I can,” Kara said. “I’m not going to be here at the end of the year when the new president is taking the job. I want to be able to get someone who’s good for the future.”

Lori Jakiela, professor of creative and professional writing, was elected to the committee as the Full Professor representative. Dr. Kayla Heffernan, assistant professor of mathematics was elected to the committee by the Assistant Professors. Dr. William Campbell, instructor of history and religious studies, was elected to the committee as the Adjunct and Part-Time Professor Representative. Finally, Dr. Stacey Triplette, associate professor of Spanish and French, was elected to represent the faculty at large.

Other members of the committee include Ronna Colland, director of finance and risk management; Dr. Gary Hart, instructor of mathematics; Ron Ott, director of healthcare management; Troy Ross, director of housing and residence life; Dr. Jack D. Smith, MD, chairman of orthopedics at Excela Health; and Dr. Frank Wilson, assistant professor of sociology.

The committee is appreciative of insights from students, faculty, and staff on campus. There is a Community Survey available, along with other information about the President search, online.

“[The president] has an impact on everything here: what our vision is, who we are, what opportunities are available for students, what programs,” Dr. Phillips said.

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