University of Arkansas Selects Four Finalists for Chancellor Position

The University of Arkansas announced today, Sept. 6,  that it has selected four finalists in its national search for the next chancellor of  the university. Each of the four finalists will be visiting the campus for two days each of meetings with students, faculty, staff, and various university stakeholders, as well as taking part in a public forum on campus that will be live-streamed and recorded, allowing the entire U of A community to be involved. 

The finalists and the dates of their scheduled forums are as follows:

Charles F. Robinson, Ph.D., current interim chancellor who has served at the U of A for 23 years. He has previously served as the director of the African and African American Studies Program, vice provost for diversity, vice chancellor for student affairs and as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. He has organized and led several projects to improve student recruitment and success, such as a $10 million scholarship for first generation, low income Arkansans. Robinson’s three degrees are in history: bachelor’s from the University of Houston, a master’s from Rice University and doctorate from the University of Houston.  His forum will be held Sept. 12.


Jay T. Akridge, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University. His  university appointment in agricultural economics, he served eight years as dean of agriculture and led the academic enterprise of  the college with a massive $1.8 billion budget, over 50,000 students, 2,700 faculty and 8,000 staff. As provost, he has helped further the university’s growth, expanding undergraduate enrollment from 31,000 in 2017 to almost 38,000 in 2022. He earned his bachelor’s in agriculture and business administration from Murray State University, and a master’s and a doctorate in agriculture economics from Purdue. His forum will be held Sept. 14.


Daniel A. Reed, Ph.D., presidential professor of computational science at the University of Utah. He previouslyserved as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, university chair in computational science and bioinformatics at the University of Iowa and corporate vice president for technology policy and extreme computing for Microsoft. He helped to launch the “For Utah” Scholarship, which has diversified the student body and increased access for first generation students. Prior to that he held the university chair in computational science and bioinformatics and professor of computer science, electrical and computer engineering and medicine, and vice president for research and development at the University of Iowa, He holds three degrees in computer science – a bachelor’s from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a master’s and a doctorate from Purdue. His forum will be held Sept. 16.


Cynthia Y. Young, Ph.D., founding dean of the College of Sciences at Clemson University. Previously, she served 20 years at the University of Central Florida – in roles such as vice provost for faculty excellence and UCF Global, associate dean for the College of Sciences and cofounder of the UCF EXCEL student retention program. In her current role, Young has led efforts to create a strategic roadmap for Clemson and doubled the college’s external research funding. Young earned her bachelor’s in education from the University of North Carolina and master’s in electrical engineering and doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Washington.  Her forum will be held Sept. 19.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that these four distinguished individuals have accepted our invitation to visit the University of Arkansas as finalists in the search for our next chancellor,” Bobbitt said. “A national leadership search presents an opportunity to test the reputational quality of an institution, and the quality and diversity of our four finalists show that the U of A is very well regarded on the national stage. I want to especially thank Dean Kim Needy and our search committee members for their hard work and dedication to this process, which has yielded a strong result heading into these campus visits. We look forward to getting to know the finalists more in the coming weeks.”

More detailed information on each candidate, such as CVs and application cover letters, as well as dates, times, and further details for their public forums will be made available on the chancellor search website.



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