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SOU board approves acting president, discusses Bailey transition schedule

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneKoko Petitt, left, and Anne Bryan walk through Southern Oregon University on Tuesday.

Southern Oregon University’s board of trustees, during a Friday meeting, named an acting president to close the gap between the outgoing president and the new one.

Board members were also briefed on transition needs for Richard J. Bailey, Jr., president of Northern New Mexico College, and when he and his wife, Diana, might be introduced to the community publicly. Bailey was named president by the board Nov. 9, after a months-long search that included five finalists visiting Ashland and Medford.

A welcome reception for the Baileys is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 18, according to documents found in the board’s agenda packet. Bailey also might participate in campus Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events that same week.

Before Bailey comes into office Jan. 15, there will be a two-week window between current President Linda Schott’s retirement and his arrival.

Per university policy, board Chairman Danny Santos interviewed and put forth the name of Susan Walsh, SOU’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, for the role of acting president. The board unanimously approved.

“She is constantly a true servant to the university and said that she’d be willing to assist the university and the board in any way possible, including the role of acting president,” Santos told board members.

Schott, although retired, will be retained for a brief period on a consultant basis and advise Bailey should he need it, Santos added.

The documents on the presidential transition shed light on some of the things Bailey will be doing both before and when he first arrives on campus.

The university has made a list of things Bailey will need to get him going in his new job, including weekly enrollment updates, donor lists, budget documents and communications between board members.

Important calendar dates that have yet to be penciled in for the new president include meetings with each trustee, the board chairman, the people he directly supervises, the local state legislative delegation and Gov. Kate Brown.

But some of those key players are not the first he’ll meet with. He intends to visit with broad groups of students, faculty, classified and unclassified staff in the first two weeks.

Communications outreach for Bailey will include an overhaul of the president’s office website, social media pages and interviews with media outlets.

“It is a work in progress, there’s no doubt about that,” Santos said to members at the Friday meeting. “Please chime in if you have any comments or concerns.”