Dr. Philip K. Way was appointed as the new president of Athens State University by the school's board of trustees Friday. The decision was unanimous.
Way was one of three remaining candidates for the position previously held by Dr. Robert Glenn. Glenn vacated the position last July to accept a position at the University of Texas-Victoria.
Way was recommended to the board by an executive committee that included interim president Dr. Ronald Ingle as well as members of the the university staff and community. Way, who was not present at Friday's meeting, will be formally introduced Tuesday. He will be the 37th president of the university.
“This will be an exciting time for the university and faculty,” said board member Missy Ming Smith. “Change is always a little apprehensive, but I think it's a tremendous day for Athens State.”
Way most recently served as interim president at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. He holds the following degrees: doctor of philosophy in industrial and business studies, master of arts in industrial relations from University of Warwick and bachelor of arts in economics from Selwyn College, Cambridge University.
Way also completed the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship and Visiting Fellowship at Harvard University.
Board Chairman Ronnie Chronister thanked the committee members for their time and added he felt “a huge responsibility” with choosing the school's new leader.
“I'm excited about Dr. Way coming in; we had a tough choice,” said Athens State board member Cathy Dickens. “He will be an excellent president for Athens State.”
Ingle, who had previously served as interim provost at Athens State, was hired by Athens State to fill the role of president until a new president could be found. Because Way won't start until Aug. 1, the board also voted to extend Ingle's contract until Way can be installed.
“You have been a great stabilizing force for this university as we go through this process,” Chronister told Ingle.
The board paid $67,500 to Academic Search of Washington to help find suitable candidates. The executive committee asked for three to five names, and Academic Search provided four.
One of the finalists, Dr. Marc Manganaro, later accepted a position at Spring Hill College.
Chronister said each finalist spent time at Athens State and was interviewed by the committee. After the final interview, he said, the committee “went into extensive deliberation” to narrow down the list to the final candidate.
Ingle told the board Academic Search officials said a survey connected to the advertising job opening had one of the highest response rates of any institution they had worked with.
Board Vice-Chair Macke Mauldin said “remarkable candidates” had applied and made the field.
“I felt we had great opportunities to do wonderful things for this university,” he said.
Elsewhere Friday, the board approved a decision to raise tuition by 1.9%, which Chronister said was in line with the Consumer Price Index. Mike McCoy, vice president for financial affairs, told the board the increases would be applied to all graduate and undergraduate tuition and to traditional and nontraditional students.
In dollar figures, tuition will go up $4 per credit hour for traditional courses, $6 per credit hour for nontraditional courses and $7 per credit hour for graduate courses.
Tuition rates for the 2019-2020 academic year will be as follows:
• Undergraduate traditional (on-campus): $206 per credit hour;
• Undergraduate nontraditional (distance learning): $246 per credit hour; and
• Graduate: $289 per credit hour.
When asked about fees, McCoy said the tuition increase would not apply to fees. He also told the board Athens State is typically one of the first schools to announce any tuition increases each year. Auburn University recently announced it would raise tuition by over 2%.
Tuition freezes have been announced at other schools, including Jacksonville State University, Montevallo University and the University of Alabama campuses in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville.
“We're still one of the most economical in the state,” McCoy told the board.
In other action Friday, the board voted to create a new 501(c)(3) organization specifically for the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur. The ACA is a joint project between Athens State and Calhoun Community College.
Ingle explained that money was raised for the ACA “years ago” but “not being utilized for the purpose in which the money was donated.”
“It allows us a vehicle to create a foundation, which would oversee the monies at the ACA,” he said.
The foundation would have a board that is separate from Athens State's board of trustees.