Update on the AUBG Presidential Search and Appointment Process | February 2021
Dear AUBG community members,
2020 was a very challenging year for all of us. Yet despite the difficulties, we can be proud that AUBG came together as a community to face the Covid-19 pandemic. AUBG has so far kept on-campus transmissions and cases extremely low, thanks to swift and effective organization, strict adherence to anti-Covid measures, and high levels of personal responsibility on the part of students, faculty, and staff. The AUBG board would like to thank all of you for your vigilance in protecting yourselves and one another, which allowed us to safely maintain hybrid instruction and other campus activities for much of the fall semester.
Although many of us had hoped that the pandemic would be under control by early 2021, unfortunately, the distribution of vaccines worldwide has been slower than anticipated, while the emergence of new strains has necessitated continued lockdowns. Most experts estimate that mass vaccination may not be implemented until the third quarter of the year. Thus the spring 2021 semester at AUBG will again be hybrid in the best case scenario, with a shortened academic calendar so as to reduce health risk. Since campus life will remain restricted in the coming months, the board has realized that we cannot move forward with the presidential search as planned, since it would be logistically difficult as well as irresponsible to bring candidates to campus while health risks and international travel restrictions remain; an entirely online search for a position of this importance to the university is also not a best practice. We understand this decision may be disappointing to community members who have been frustrated by insufficiently transparent search processes in the past. The board had hoped to remedy this via a full and open search, but the grim realities of the Covid pandemic leave us no choice but to suspend the process.
Still, we are in a fortunate position, as AUBG’s Interim President David Evans has done an impressive job in leading our institution through the multiple crises we have faced recently. He has put together a strong management team and introduced restructuring that has allowed our institution to weather the Covid-19 crisis exceptionally well from health, educational and financial standpoints. Dr. Evans has also been key in regaining the trust of our major donors and securing a new VP of Advancement who helped us finish the ABF Alumni matching challenge with impressive results. AUBG needs strong leadership in the next several years as we emerge from the Covid crisis and implement our new strategic plan. Continuity is also imperative as we build a new senior leadership team. Given Dr. Evans’s strong performance during an extremely difficult period in AUBG’s history, the board is confident that he is the leader who can help AUBG exit the Covid crisis as a flourishing and vibrant institution. For this reason, the board voted at its January 2021 board meeting to extend President Evans’s contract for two years, until June 2023, to give him the opportunity to build on his current successes, to further streamline AUBG’s organizational structure, and to launch the ambitious strategic initiatives developed under his guidance. Depending on how health and other circumstances develop, the board will revisit the question of a new presidential search in mid-2022 as appropriate.
The board hopes the AUBG community will join us in congratulating President Evans and thanking him for his continuing commitment to and enthusiasm for our institution. We look forward to working together to sustain AUBG as the leading American-style educational institution in Southeastern Europe!
Acting Chair of the AUBG Board