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wvsuniversity (presidential search story)

The West Virginia State University Board of Governors plans to pick a new president by late March or April.

West Virginia State University is now accepting applications to be its next president.

The application deadline “for full consideration” is Feb. 11, 2022, according to the presidential search timeline. Nominations, applications, resumes, references’ contact information and cover letters may be emailed to wvsupresident2022@agbsearch.com, said university Board of Governors Chairman Chuck Jones.

The 16-member search committee includes several board members and people from Kanawha County, according to a document Jones provided. They include the state’s higher education chancellor, the university’s National Alumni Association president, Encova Mutual Insurance Group’s board executive chairman, Democrat House of Delegates member Larry Rowe and community organizer and pastor the Rev. Matthew Watts. Jones said more members might be added next week.

This committee will choose three finalists, who will visit the Institute campus for presentations and question-and-answer sessions March 14-18. Jones said they will meet with alumni, faculty and students.

“We’d have individual times for all the constituent groups to meet with them individually, ask them questions,” he said.

According to the timeline the board approved earlier this month, the new president is expected to be named in late March or April.

The separate board of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which oversees four-year colleges, still must vote on approving the university’s search procedure. Later, that agency will have to vote on approving the compensation offered to the new leader.

The historically Black university is again using Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search to help find a new president. The school paid AGB Search more than $80,000 for the search that ended with hiring Nicole Pride. Because Pride resigned after less than a year as president, the search firm is waiving the fee to redo the search, but not waiving additional expenses, such as consultant travel.

Pride served as president from Sept. 1, 2020, to July 30, 2021. She resigned after most members of her senior Cabinet asked the university’s board to remove her “to allow for an investigation.”

Their letter accused Pride of violating an employee’s privacy and “condescending and abusive dialogue” that had contributed to a “hostile work environment.”

Ericke Cage, who was hired as Pride’s chief of staff 11 days before she resigned, has been leading the university’s day-to-day operations since. The board named him interim president in September.

Jones said Monday that he didn’t know if Cage would apply for the permanent position.

Ryan Quinn covers education. He can be reached at 304-348-1254 or ryan.quinn@hdmediallc.com. Follow @RyanEQuinn on Twitter.

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