AJC On Campus: More leadership changes in Georgia university system

Georgia College & State University President Steve Dorman said Friday he’s stepping down from the position in September, the latest in a growing list of impending departures by several longtime leaders in the state’s public university system.

Five of the University System of Georgia’s 26 schools have either interim leaders or will soon have new presidents. The system’s chancellor is also retiring in a few months.

College presidential tenures nationwide have declined to an average of six years, according to some research.

Here’s more about the changes and the latest on each search:

University System of Georgia Chancellor

Steve Wrigley announced earlier this month he is retiring on July 1. The chancellor is a key player in determining educational instruction and the annual budgets for the system’s 26 colleges and universities. Wrigley has worked in public service for 36 years.

The state Board of Regents announced Monday seven of its members will work with Parker Executive Search, the company that will conduct a nationwide search for the next chancellor. The University System is launching a website to provide updates on the search and ways for the public to comment.

The United Campus Workers of Georgia, a group of faculty members and teaching assistants throughout the system, has asked the board to consider candidates with backgrounds in public health amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Clayton State University President

Tim Hynes, who has been president for about 12 years, is also retiring at the end of June. The system is planning a national search for his replacement.

Georgia State University President

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Mark Becker is stepping down in June after leading the university for more than a decade. Georgia State has the largest enrollment in the system, with about 53,000 students. A 23-member committee, led by Board of Regents member Neil Pruitt Jr., is overseeing the search process.

Savannah State University President

Kimberly Ballard-Washington, previously the University System’s associate vice chancellor for legal affairs, has been interim president since July 2019. The University System announced in October a 15-member committee, led by associate professor Kisha Aites, will lead the search for the next president.

East Georgia State College President

Dawn H. Cartee is the interim president after Bob Boehmer retired on Dec. 1. She most recently served as director of the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel and is a former president of Ogeechee Technical College. Increasing enrollment will be a challenge. State data shows the college’s enrollment, 2,415 students, is a 12% decline from the fall 2019 semester.