Apr 242003
Authors: Willow Welter

A screening committee is currently reviewing candidates for the director position at the newly-merged academic support center.

To cope with budget cuts, CSU merged the Help/Success Center, the Center for Life Sciences and the Undergraduate Retention Program at the beginning of April. Paul Shang, Tom Gorell and Paul Thayer, all directors from the former separate centers, respectively, are the only three candidates for the new position.

The provost and vice president for student affairs appointed the Screening Committee, which plans to announce the new director sometime in May.

Kenneth Blehm, chair of the committee, said the committee will choose the director based on retaining as much of the “experience, leadership and dedication” the existing staff already possesses.

Thayer said all three men running for the position are talented and qualified.

“To have three organizations that have been quite student focused…to combine in such a way that takes advantage of their strengths,” Thayer said. “That part is really exciting.”

The Screening Committee hosted two open forums, one on Monday and one on Tuesday, which allowed candidates to express their stances.

“(The forum) serves a two-way function. One, it gives us a chance to talk to people about visions each of us has,” Thayer said. “Two, it causes us to think more broadly than we would normally.”

Paul Shang said the two candidates who do not get the new position will probably have to search for a new job.

“I think it’s probably very challenging to select from the three highly qualified directors,” Shang said. “These are people that have not only been here a long time, but who have also had a great impact while they were here.”

Shang said he hopes to become director of the new “merged entity” for one main reason.

“I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity to be able to provide outstanding service to students,” he said.

Tom Gorell, the third candidate and director of the former Center for Life Sciences, said the selection process thus far has been tough at times.

“I think the realization that two of the three candidates will be losing their jobs has been the toughest part,” Gorell said. “It’s tough on all three of us.”

Gorell said he is running for the position because he has experience in setting up a center and he is committed to the goals of what the three centers are doing.

Each candidate has posted a vision statement, curriculum vitae and letter of interest at www.provost.colostate.edu.

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