University names candidates for permanent chancellor position

The university on Monday named four finalists in its search for a chancellor after nearly three years without a permanent leader.  

The candidates are scheduled to take part in a series of public forums in April. They were selected after a national search that attracted 31 applicants and nominees, officials said Monday.

Three of the four finalists have ties to the university as employees or graduates.


SIU President Randy Dunn said the finalists have significant academic and administrative experience, and understand the challenges facing the Carbondale campus.

“We are looking for a strong leader and effective manager who is not afraid to tackle tough issues and who can work collaboratively on and off campus to shape a shared vision for the university’s future,” Dunn said in a statement.

The following people are finalists for the university chancellor position:

Brad Colwell

Brad Colwell. (Provided photo)

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell was chosen to serve as the leader of the Carbondale campus in October 2015 after the university president spent one year covering the post. He earns $295,000 per year before benefits, according to university records.

Colwell’s term as interim chancellor ends June 30. The conditions of his employment contract stipulated he would have a tenured position at the university if another candidate was chosen for the permanent job.

Prior to his appointment as interim chancellor, Colwell worked at Bowling Green University in Kentucky as the dean of its College of Education and Human Development. Colwell began his career in academia as an assistant professor in SIU’s Department of Education Administration and Higher Education in 1996.


Colwell earned his bachelor’s degree at Anderson University in Indiana. He went to the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana for his master’s and doctorate in educational administration. He also earned a law degree from U. of I.

A native of the region, Colwell said in an earlier interview with the Daily Egyptian that the return to southern Illinois was “coming home.”

A public forum for Colwell is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. April 25 in Guyon Auditorium.

Carl Pinkert

Carl Pinkert. (Provided photo)

Carl Pinkert began his current job as the vice president for research and economic development at the University of Alabama in 2013. His duties there include advancing the research goals and expanding the university’s research funding base through federal grants, foundations and private donations, according to his curriculum vitae.

In previous administrative experience, Pinkert oversaw a $19 million annual budget as the associate vice president for research and graduate studies at Auburn University, a public research university in Alabama. Pinkert worked as a professor and administrator at Auburn from 2006 until 2013.

Pinkert is the co-author of more than 135 published articles, 24 reports and 175 abstracts, according to a news release from the University of Alabama.

Pinkert earned his master’s degree in animal science from SIU in 1977. He attended Colorado State University for his undergraduate degree and went to the University of Georgia for a doctorate in animal science and reproductive physiology.

A public forum for Pinkert is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. April 27 in Guyon Auditorium.


Jeff Elwell

Jeff Elwell. (Provided photo)

Jeff Elwell works as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is also a tenured professor in the Department of Theatre and Speech.

He is in charge of administering a budget of $29 million in state funds and more than $13 million in private funds. As dean of his college, Elwell oversees 17 departments alongside 275 full-time faculty and 205 part-time faculty, according to his curriculum vitae.

In fall 2014, Elwell was tasked with reducing his college’s budget by roughly 6 percent, or $1.2 million. In his curriculum vitae, Elwell said the “transparent process over a three-month period” resulted in no permanent staff, faculty reductions or program eliminations.

Elwell has served on Tennessee’s Chancellor’s Diversity Advisory Council, Strategic Planning Steering Committee and University Planning and Resources Advisory Council.

Before starting at Tennessee in 2012, he served as special assistant to the chancellor for strategic initiatives at Auburn University at Montgomery. From June 2010 to October 2011, he worked as the 5,800-student university’s provost. He also served as dean of graduate studies.

From 2004 to 2010, Elwell worked as dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University. Before then, he worked as chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska for five years.

Elwell, a former journalist, has written, directed and produced more than 50 plays, some of which have been produced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to an online biography.

He has been a finalist in recent months for the president positions at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.

Elwell holds a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University in Bakersfield and a master’s degree in communication and theatre from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He earned his doctorate in speech communication and theatre from SIUC in 1986.

His public interview will be at 8:45 a.m. April 11 in Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library.

George Hynd

George Hynd. (Provided photo)

Hynd, who has a background in clinical child neuropsychology, was named president of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, in 2014.

There, he is seeking and allocating resources to support research, expanding efforts to create an increasingly diverse faculty and establishing “fiscal and budgetary systems that are comprehensive and transparent,” according to his curriculum vitae. The state-funded university consists of more than 20,000 students.

Hynd is the only candidate who has not attended or worked for SIU previously.

From 2010 to 2014, Hynd worked as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the College of Charleston. He managed an academic affairs budget of nearly $90 million, according to an online biography. He was also a professor in the university’s department of psychology.

Before then, he worked for two years as senior vice provost and dean of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University.

From 2003 to 2007, he worked as dean of the College of Education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Before that, he worked from 1979 to 2003 in various roles at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, working his way to becoming the university’s associate dean of research and external affairs.

Hynd has worked on numerous journals, and served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Learning Disabilities from 1995 to 1999.

Hynd, who has written, co-authored and edited 11 books, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University in California and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado.

His public interview will be at 8:45 a.m. April 19 in Guyon Auditorium.

Previous search

The previous search for a permanent chancellor was initiated after the death of interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela in November 2014. That search was suspended in June 2015 after the preferred candidate withdrew from consideration, citing concerns over the state’s budget impasse.

The announcement comes as Dunn and Colwell outlined $30 million in proposed spending cuts from a number of areas, including research-oriented departments and vacant faculty positions.

In a previous interview with the Daily Egyptian, Laurie Achenbach, who chaired the committee, said the committee was looking for candidates who showed a strong commitment to student success and diversity, displayed experience in strategic planning and could form a vision for the campus. The 20 committee members, four of whom are students, were also seeking candidates who demonstrated fiscal responsibility, she said.

“I think, like anyone on campus, I would like to see someone who has the fortitude to steer us through these increasingly difficult financial times,” Achenbach, dean of the College of Science, has said of what she personally hopes for in the next chancellor.

In the past 20 years, the university’s largest campus has had 11 different leaders, including one year when Dunn filled the position along with his regular duties as the university president. During those years, the longest sitting chancellor was Walter Wendler, who held the post from 2001 to 2006.

Others remained in the position for a shorter time. Fernando Treviño and Jo Ann E. Argersinger each served as chancellor for a year.

Campus editor Bill Lukitsch can be reached at 618-536-3326, [email protected] or on Twitter @lukitsbill.

Staff writer Luke Nozicka can be reached at 618-536-3325, [email protected] or on Twitter @lukenozicka.

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Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified Carl Pinkert as the vice president for research and economic development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He works for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa; not Birmingham. The Daily Egyptian regrets the error.