Presidential Search Information and Statement of Desired Leadership Characteristics

Henderson State University seeks a president to assume office on or before July 1, 2012. As the institution’s chief executive officer, the president reports directly to the seven-member Board of Trustees. Applications and nominations should be submitted electronically to

Mr. Johnny Hudson  

Chair, Board of Trustees 

Applications should include curriculum vitae, a list of three professional references including telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, and a letter addressing the Desired Leadership Characteristics listed below. Letters of nomination and applications will be accepted and reviewed until a final appointment is made. However, to insure full consideration, candidates should submit their materials as soon as possible and no later than December 15, 2011. Those who have submitted all required application documents will be considered active presidential candidates and will be listed on the presidential search website under the Active Candidates link.

All applications are subject to public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. For inquiries or more information about the selection process, please contact:

Flora Weeks 
Secretary to the Board of Trustees

The University 

Henderson State University has a unique history. The institution was founded in 1890 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South as Arkadelphia Methodist College. It was chartered as a four-year, co-educational baccalaureate liberal arts college with 110 students and 10 faculty members. In 1929, the institution was transferred from private to public control as the Arkansas General Assembly enacted legislation that established it as a standard Teachers College in Arkadelphia.
Today, Henderson State University is a comprehensive institution of higher learning serving more than 3,700 students in 28 major buildings on its modern 145-acre campus in Arkadelphia. A total of 200 faculty and 300 staff serve the campus community. The annual operating budget of the university is approximately $56,000,000. Henderson experienced a two-year enrollment increase of 29 percent.

Consistent with its heritage, Henderson’s academic focus continues to be on undergraduate education, but it also offers five graduate degrees and several pre-professional programs. Degree programs are delivered through the Matt Locke Ellis College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, and Teachers College, Henderson. The university’s academic programs are all well-respected and a wide variety of programs have garnered special recognition and accreditation.
Located in the city of Arkadelphia in scenic Southwest Arkansas, Henderson offers a broad array of co-curricular activities for its students. The 12-sport NCAA Division II athletics program is a member of the Great American Conference, consisting of Arkansas and Oklahoma institutions. Known as The School With a Heart, Henderson takes great pride in maintaining a friendly, inclusive campus. 

Henderson State University is a member of numerous national, regional, and professional associations including the Higher Learning Commission, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, National Association of Schools of Music, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
(A more detailed history and overview of the university are available at

The Mission Statement (Excerpt)
Henderson State University is Arkansas’s public liberal arts university. True to the century-long tradition that has distinguished Henderson since its founding, the university remains dedicated to providing excellent undergraduate curricula and graduate programs. Henderson, a Southern regional institution with a diverse student body, advocates a program based on the liberal arts, regardless of specific educational interests. Through a common core of courses in arts and sciences, as well as through the more specialized curricula, the university fosters the maximum growth and development of each student.
Henderson’s primary mission is to excel in undergraduate education, always striving to enrich the quality of learning and teaching. In pursuit of this goal, the university seeks a culturally rich and diverse student community, actively recruiting, challenging, supporting, and motivating students to achieve academic success. Quality in education is fostered not only by a positively motivated student body, but also by a faculty and staff distinguished for their continuing commitment to excellence. University care and concern, positive student response, small class sizes, and a personal friendly atmosphere -- these characteristics are the heart of Henderson.
(Complete mission statement available at

Desired Leadership Characteristics:
Academic Credentials and Background The new president should possess academic credentials and experiences that demonstrate a commitment to and understanding of public higher education. A terminal degree and faculty experience are expected, but in exceptional circumstances other qualifications will be considered. The ideal candidate should have a record of success as a higher education administrator, including fostering an effective system of shared governance among the university’s many stakeholders. 

Institutional Leadership Effectiveness
Henderson State University has a long tradition of fostering a spirit of collegiality and promoting a participatory environment for all members of the campus community. The new president should be a leader who possesses a strong administrative and collaborative style. The position also requires effective communication, consensus building, decision making, planning, sound resource management, and delegation of responsibilities. The new president will provide leadership in the allocation and management of institutional resources consistent with the mission, goals, and priorities of the university. 

It is critically important that the new president be able to lead the university community in the evolution and articulation of the current shared vision for Henderson. The new president must also be able to continue to engage the university in a planning process to transform that vision into specific programs and activities. The management of a large and complex budget comprised of state appropriations, private grants and student tuition and fees necessitates the new President to have experience and skill in budget management. 

After many years of stable student enrollment, Henderson has achieved significant enrollment growth in the past two years. In addition, the academic credentials of entering freshmen have risen significantly over the past decade. Henderson has identified continued enrollment growth, student retention, and the continued improvement in the academic preparedness of entering students as major priorities. The new president will lead in the development and implementation of an enrollment strategy to achieve all three goals. 

Henderson’s focus is effective teaching and learning. The university’s primary mission is to provide excellent undergraduate education. Henderson also offers selected complementary graduate and pre-professional programs that have grown in number and seen increased enrollment in recent years. The new president is expected to insure the necessary institutional support to maintain excellence in undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional programs. 

Henderson’s greatest strength is its well-qualified faculty and staff that demonstrate an exemplary spirit of institutional loyalty, commitment, and stability. To be effective, the new president must support, encourage, and partner with the faculty and staff in a system of shared governance that recognizes the unique nature of this institution of higher learning and respects the contributions of all members of the campus community. 

Henderson seeks a President who can inspire and support Henderson’s remarkable and diverse student body. Henderson’s new president should welcome interactions with students, be approachable and communicate well with students. The new President must be sensitive to the unique challenges faced by the many first generation college students who study at Henderson. The ideal candidate will maintain a presence on campus and encourage a vibrant campus culture through his or her support of student organizations, activities, and athletics. 

Henderson has significantly improved its campus infrastructure over the last decade. However, the institution has identified several instructional and support facility needs during recent campus master planning efforts. The new president will be responsible for developing funding strategies for these important projects. 

Henderson is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor of the State of Arkansas to provide policy and fiduciary oversight of the university. The new president will report directly to the Board of Trustees and will serve as the primary liaison between the Board and the campus community.

External Relations
Henderson State University embraces its responsibility to be a productive and contributing member of the larger community. The new president will provide leadership in identifying and implementing additional collaborations between Henderson, the City of Arkadelphia, the State of Arkansas, and beyond. Increasingly, the community and the region look to Henderson to provide leadership and expertise in addressing numerous economic and social challenges. The university also recognizes the need to collaborate with public school systems and both public and private higher education institutions including community colleges to address local and regional challenges. The president of Henderson will also have an important role to play in economic development efforts in Clark County and southwest Arkansas. Arkadelphia and Clark County are poised to experience positive growth as a result of recent economic development and philanthropic initiatives. The new president will be expected to capitalize on those developments for the benefit of Henderson. The new president will also be expected to expand Henderson’s efforts to engage constituent groups including alumni, the media, and governmental officials. 

Henderson seeks to extend its influence beyond its immediate service area. Consequently, the new president will oversee the development and implementation of an effective and comprehensive marketing strategy to increase enrollment, garner additional private support, and increase awareness of the institution’s contributions to the region, state, and nation.

Acquisition of Resources
Henderson, like most public and private higher education institutions, must compete for limited resources. Henderson’s primary funding sources are state appropriations, tuition and fees, capital project funding, and private gifts. The new president must exercise leadership at the state level to insure that elected and appointed officials understand the value of the state’s investment in the institution. Although state funding for general operations has been relatively stable in recent years, Arkansas’s revenue base has not grown as rapidly as the funding needs of the state’s many agencies and institutions. The new president must effectively partner with government officials to articulate not only Henderson’s institutional needs, but its valuable contributions to the State and its citizens. 

Henderson seeks to expand its resource base. This effort must include an aggressive campaign to solicit private gifts. The new president will be actively engaged in the development activities of the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Henderson Foundation. The ideal candidate should have a proven record of success in donor relations and fundraising.

Personal Attributes
A spirit of family and inclusiveness are central to Henderson’s institutional culture and character. The hallmarks of the Reddie Spirit are integrity, trust, honor, pride, and friendliness. Henderson seeks a new leader of exceptional integrity who can embrace this spirit with a commitment to diversity, openness, and service.


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