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Candidate for OUS dean named finalist for Montana university chancellor

IRONTON — A finalist for the soon-to-be-named Ohio University Southern dean position has surfaced as a leading candidate to be chancellor at another university nearly 1,800 miles away.

Dr. Gregory Sojka, who was named by OUS officials as one of five finalists for their dean position, was listed Thursday as one of three in the running for the open chancellorship at Montana State University-Northern.

Sojka, who interviewed in person with top Ohio University brass on May 20-21, currently serves as a special projects consultant with the University of Rio Grande.

He has also held the titles of president, provost and vice president of academic affairs since arriving at his alma mater in 1994.

Residing in Bidwell, Ohio, Sojka obtained his doctorate in English from the University of Indiana. He has also been employed at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, University of Wyoming, Wichita State University and North Carolina State University.

Calls and e-mail to OUS asking if Sojka was still a candidate for their position or if he was out of the running went unanswered.

Located in Harve, Mont., MSU-Northern is a public state extension university similar to OUS. The university has 1,207 students and is 120 miles south of Great Falls, Mont.

The names of the five finalists, all with college and university administration backgrounds, were released May 20 by OUS and associate biology professor Mike Millay, who serves as dean committee chairman.

The five came from a pool of 62 applicants. Those 62 were narrowed down to 10 who were reduced to five following telephone interviews by members of the university’s 12-member search committee.

Besides Sojka, also named as finalists were Richard Bothel, Jeanne M. Clerc, Bashar W. Hanna and current interim dean Dr. Bill Willan.

The search committee is comprised of six faculty members from OUS, a standing dean from another Ohio University campus and several members of the local community.

The paired-down list was then invited to participate in a personal visit to both the Ironton and Proctorville campuses for a two-day interview along with spending a day at the main Athens campus. The in-person visit allowed each candidate to interact with OUS faculty, staff and student and visa versa.

Once the narrowed pool of candidates make their visit to the campus, the search committee will then meet again to gather feedback and slim the list down to between one and three finalists.

This list will then be sent to Ohio University Provost Dr. Kathy Krendl who will make the final decision with a pending start date near July 1.

The search for a full-time dean follows the position being filled on an interim basis since January 2008. At that time Dr. Bill Willan was appointed to the post following Dan Evans leaving the post.

Willan had served as associate vice-president of outreach in the Ohio University system.