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Finalists for the Southern Polytechnic Presidency Announced

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Atlanta — April 29, 1998

Three finalists for the presidency of Southern Polytechnic State University are under consideration by University System Chancellor Stephen R. Portch and the Board of Regents’ Special Committee, chaired by Regent Kenneth W. Cannestra.

Chancellor Portch said that the Presidential Search and Advisory Committee appointed to identify qualified candidates for the Southern Polytechnic presidency “has completed a superb effort of identifying nationally recognized scholars and administrators, among them two outstanding female candidates who have distinguished themselves in a field traditionally under-represented by women.”

Portch commended the work of both the Special Regents Committee and the seven-member campus-level committee chaired by Dr. Sidney Davis, a professor in Southern Polytechnic’s School of Management. The Presidential Search and Advisory Committee consisted of seven representatives from the campus community and had a charge of providing not less than five unranked finalists to the Special Regents’ Committee. The regents committee has narrowed that list to three finalists, from which the president will be selected.

“Southern Polytechnic has achieved a very unique status among the nation’s technology-focused institutions of higher learning,” Chancellor Portch stated. “We have a unique opportunity to further distinguish this university among the elite group of polytechnics to which it now belongs; that will be done by selecting an administrator of the highest caliber and strongest vision to lead it into the next century.”

Finalists, in alphabetical order, include:

  • Dr. Cynthia S. Hirtzel, dean of engineering at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pa. Hirtzel joined Temple University as dean of the College of Engineering and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and affiliated professor of women’s studies in 1995. Prior to that she had served as professor (1991-95) and chairperson (1990-95) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. She joined Syracuse as an associate professor in the chemical engineering and materials science department, a position she held from 1986-1991, before moving on to become a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Statistics Program. Hirtzel launched her career at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL., as an instructor in the Technological Institute, a position she transitioned into a visiting scholar post. From 1981 to 1986, she served as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and as a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Program on Operations Research and Statistics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Hirtzel earned her Ph.D. in 1980, and her M.S. in 1979, both in civil engineering with an environmental focus, from Northwestern University. She earned her A.B. in mathematics, from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973.

  • Dr. Rogers Redding, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northern Kentucky University, in Highland Heights, Kentucky. Redding joined Northern Kentucky University as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of physics in 1994. Prior to joining NKU, he served as associate dean for research and administration in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of physics at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Redding launched his academic career in 1969 as a National Academy of Sciences post-doctoral research associate with the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, DC. He moved to the University of North Texas in 1970, and has since held a variety of faculty and administrative posts in the physics department from 1970-1987, including professor and chair of the department. From 1987-89, Redding served as the director of the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, while maintaining his physics professorship. During 1989-90, he served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Physics with the United States Air Force Academy, and during the Fall of 1993 he served as acting chair of UNT’s English department at the appointment of the dean while the department was in receivership. Redding earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1969 from Vanderbilt University, and his B.S. in chemistry from Georgia Tech in 1965.

  • Dr. Lisa A. Rossbacher, dean of the College at Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pa. Rossbacher joined Dickinson as dean, professor of geology, and the Russell I. Thompson Chair of the Dean of the Faculty in 1995. Prior to that she had served as vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, and professor of geology at Whittier College in Whittier, Calif. From 1986-1993, she served in a number of faculty and administrative posts at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., moving from assistant professor of geological sciences to provost’s associate for planning and director of the Commission for the Year 2001, and ultimately to associate vice president for academic affairs of the institution. Rossbacher launched her career as an instructor in geology at Dickinson College, and later served as a NASA intern in planetary geology and as a mass media science fellow for National Public Radio via the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned a Ph.D. in 1983, and a M.A. in 1979, both in geological sciences, from Princeton University. She also earned a M.A. in geological sciences from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1978, and a B.S. in geology, graduating summa cum laude, from Dickinson College in 1975. The Board of Regents will select the president from this group of finalists at its May 13, 1998 meeting.

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