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Alabama A&M to announce president selection within a week

The Board of Trustees is interviewing the three finalists.

Alabama A&M

Alabama A&M University has announced that it will select its new university president by next week. President Andrew Hugine is retiring after a remarkable tenure in which he turned around the historically Black college.

The A&M Board of Trustees is meeting Friday at 8 a.m. to begin the formal interviews of its three finalists for the job.

The three finalists are Daniel Wims, Roderick Smothers and Colette Pierce Burnette. The university has narrowed the finalists down to just three out of 53 applicants.

Roderick L. Smothers Sr.

Roderick L. Smothers Sr. Ph.D. was named the 14th president of Philander Smith College on Oct. 1, 2014, and began his tenure in January 2015.

Previously, Smothers served as vice president for institutional advancement at two historically black universities: Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma.

Philander Smith College is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts college in Arkansas related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. The college offers four degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Bachelor of Social Work.

Colette Pierce Burnette

Colette Pierce Burnette Ed.D. is the president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University.

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Burnette is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She joined Huston-Tillotson University as president on July 1, 2015. She previously was the interim president at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, the vice president for administration and chief financial officer, executive assistant to the president, vice president for Information Technology and Services and chief information officer at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; dean of information technology at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington; and manager of consulting and project management services at the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Huston-Tillotson University is a private historically Black university in Austin, Texas.

Daniel Wims

Hugine hired Daniel Wims Ph.D. as provost when Hugine was hired in 2009. Wims has served 12 years as provost at the historically Black university. Wims has been tasked with helping to lead the university to complete its first-ever capital campaign, raising over $27 million dollars, to reorganizing and restructuring the school’s academic programs after the school was in crisis.

Wims has over 20 years of administrative experience in various governmental and higher education organizations.

Wims is currently the provost and vice president for academic affairs and for research, and professor of agricultural sciences at Alabama A&M University.

He formerly served as the executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, and professor of Agricultural Sciences at the Fort Valley State University.

Other positions held include assistant vice president for student affairs and associate professor at South Carolina State University, director of the division of agricultural sciences and associate professor of agricultural sciences at Florida A&M University, director of institutional research and assessment and assistant professor of agricultural sciences at Alcorn State University, director of the Small Farm Research and Resource Development Center and assistant professor of agricultural sciences at Southern University.

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When Hugine was hired to run the school in 2009, the university was facing several critical issues that jeopardized its very survival.  The school faced daunting obstacles from probationary status by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to its inability to manage its own finances effectively.  Degree programs were outdated, fundraising and development was behind, and instability existed in key leadership positions. Hugine is being widely applauded for turning around the HBCU.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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