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UL System announces NSU Presidential Search Committee

September 27, 2017

On Monday, Sept. 25, the University of Louisiana System met in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union Ballroom to name the members of the Nicholls Presidential Search Committee. A public forum was also held where members of the Nicholls State faculty, staff, student body and community voiced their concerns, values and ideas to the committee in regards to the future president of the university. The committee is composed of members of the University of
Louisiana System Board, former Nicholls faculty members and important figures in the Thibodaux community.

The search committee is divided into two groups, with nine voting members and eight non-voting members, respectively. The nine voting members include Nicholls State Faculty Senate President Dr. David Whitney, University of Louisiana System board members James Carter, Beau Martin, Shawn Murphy, Al Perkins, Elizabeth Pierre, Winfred Sibille and University of Louisiana System student board member Benjamin Rice. The eight non-voting board members include Kirt Chouest, Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Houma- Thibodaux Diocese, Dr. Alice Pecoraro, University of Louisiana System President and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee Dr. Jim Henderson, Nicholls State Student Government Association President Tommy Thibodeaux, Nicholls Foundation President Chris Riviere, Nicholls Alumni Association President Paula Rome and Donny Rouse, CEO of Rouse’s Markets.

Many of the committee members expressed enthusiasm in being a part of the search for the next president.

“ I think Nicholls is very important for the common good of this area, so it’s my delight to serve here and to offer whatever I’m able to offer,” Fabre said.

“I consider this to be a very serious responsibility and task. I look forward to working with this group to put forth the best two candidates that we can find,” Pecoraro said.

The committee also outlined a timeline for interviewing candidates and selecting a
replacement for Dr. Bruce Murphy, the current university president. Letters of intent and
professional résumés are due by Oct. 20, and by Oct. 25 the committee intends to have reviewed
the applicants and determined a group of semifinalists to be interviewed.

The next university president should be elected some time during November, but the timeline of events is subject to
change according to the committee. Dr. Jim Henderson, chair of the Nicholls Presidential Search Committee, expressed his desire to find the right fit for the position.

“In particular, we’re interested in learning what qualifications are essential in the next president if he or she is to succeed in that role…we want someone who wants to be the next president at Nicholls State,” Henderson said.

Members of the public were allowed to address the committee and were allowed to voice their opinion on the search for the next university president. Faculty, staff and students were able to address the committee on various issues such as diversity, communication and transparency.

“The current administration…are all white men. That’s the demographics at Nicholls State, and that’s what people see when they see Nicholls State,” said Dr. Michelle Caruso, dean of Student Affairs and director of the University Counseling Center here at Nicholls.

“I acknowledge and know that you will look for the best candidate for Nicholls, and that’s what we all want regardless of who that person is or what they look like,” Caruso said.

Mia Davis, an allied health major, expressed her concerns of lack of faculty and staff representation on the search committee.

“Personally, as a current student of Nicholls State, it’s a bit off-putting to me that there is a minority of actual Nicholls State workers who are on the committee rather than a majority,” said Davis.

Faculty members Dr. Scott Banville and Ms. Nicki Boudreaux both voiced similar points of the next university president being open and clear with their communication.

“I think one of the most important things for our next president is they need to be an effective communicator,” said Banville.

“A university president should also operate in a spirit of transparency especially in a public state institution…I’d like to see us have the opportunity to express and experience that ownership in decision making going forward,” said Boudreaux.

To remain up to date with the search for the next university president, visit
www.ulsystem.edu/nichollssearch.

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