Four candidates have been announced as finalists for the vice president of research and economic development at the University of Wyoming.

The finalists are Joseph Heppert, the associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas, Kent Keyser, associate vice president for research at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Edmund Synakowski, associate director of science for fusion energy sciences with the U.S. Department of Energy, and D. Marshall Porterfield, professor in Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Starting in January, a faculty committee chaired by College of Engineering Dean Michael Pishko narrowed down the candidate pool after considering more than 20 applicants.

“It was a very thorough process that we went through to evaluate and rank the candidates,” he said. “There were a number of highly skilled, highly qualified candidates who applied.”

Pishko said the committee looked at each candidate’s vision and how each might fit into the economic development and diversification efforts in Wyoming, before selecting the most qualified candidates.

“(The finalists) all have a great deal of wealth of experience either at other institutions or federal agencies, managing very large programs,” he said.

Bill Gern, the current vice president, is retiring in the summer after almost four decades at UW and more than two decades as vice president.

“The hope is to have his successor in place by Aug. 1,” said Chad Baldwin, director of institutional communications.

Each candidate will participate in a multiple-day visit to campus, which will include a public presentation.

Keyser, the first candidate slotted to visit UW, is scheduled to speak from 2-3:15 p.m., Friday at the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center. Campus visits for Heppert, Synakowski and Porterfield will be announced at a later date.

“We’re looking forward to their on-campus visits and hearing from the faculty at large, staff and general public about how they feel about the candidates coming in,” Pishko said.

(3) comments


L. Nichols isn't doing much to cut all the fat at the top.


Nope. The position seems unnecessary now that there is neither research nor economic development due to the "budget challenges".


I could help with their budget challenges if they just cash the checks ($200) I have given them since 12/16. It's not a lot but I'm sure I'm not alone. Cash mgmt is such an elemental business process, it's surprising that it seems to be a foreign concept here at UW.

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