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Students, faculty to meet candidates for new vice chancellor

The university will soon choose a new vice chancellor for student affairs but not before some students and faculty get a chance to meet and speak with each of the final two candidates, a university official said.

The final two candidates for the position, Theresa Powell and Kathryn Cavins-Tull, will be on campus this week to go through the interview process.

Don Mills, the current vice chancellor for student affairs, announced earlier this school year he would vacate his current position to join the College of Education on May 31.

Powell will be on campus Tuesday. She is currently the vice president for student affairs at Temple University in Philadelphia.

According to the Temple University website, Powell attended TCU for her master’s degree in education after earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology and education from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her doctorate in educational administration from The Ohio State University.

Cavins-Tull will be on campus Thursday. She is currently the vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill.

According to the IWU website, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Illinois University. She then received her doctorate in educational administration and foundations from Illinois State University.

According to the website, Cavins-Tull has been vice president for student affairs since 2005.

Provost Nowell Donovan, chairman of the search committee, said the committee consisted of 14 members, including a few students, whom he said he thought did a great job and represented the student body very well. Although he thought this important committee worked well, Donovan said it had been a long, intense process. He added that it took a lot of time to reach a consensus.

“For every candidate, there are pluses and minuses,” he said. “It’s not easy to know that you’ve got the balance right or this person really does fit the mold that you want.”

Donovan, through a university email to faculty and staff, said the candidates will go through a “robust interview schedule.” According to the email, those who participate in the interviewing will have the chance to provide feedback, and Chancellor Victor Boschini will review all of the feedback. Boschini will determine who is offered the job, which will be effective June 1.

Karen Baker, chief of staff at TCU and a member of the search committee, organized the interview schedule for the two candidates. She said the candidates will have a long day of interviews that will last from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. She said the day would include breakfast with student affairs leaders, a meeting with faculty and the Provost’s Council, an open forum for student affairs staff, lunch with the Chancellor’s Cabinet, a reception with student leaders, a meeting with the search committee, a final interview with the chancellor and dinner with trustees.

The day will expose the candidates to a variety of audiences, she said. Everyone involved in the interview process received a copy of the candidate’s résumés, letters of interest and a feedback form to fill out after the interviews.

The search committee was looking for the best fit for TCU, and student focus was the No. 1 priority, Baker said. She said they are looking for someone who can come in and blend with the TCU student affairs division’s success and who has a vision for the future as well. She added that the vice chancellor for student affairs is the advocate for students and the programs that enhance the student experience.

“We believe that both of them are viable candidates who could certainly blend with TCU,” Baker said.

Donovan said Mills will be hard to replace because of all of the work he has done. Donovan said he is looking for someone who will not come in and try to fix TCU but try to make it better.

“We’re looking for someone who will understand and appreciate where we are, where we’ve come from and where we want to go,” he said.

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