Here are 5 candidates for UNO presidency to be interviewed this week

The search committee seeking a new leader for the struggling University of New Orleans will hold public interviews this week with the five candidates under consideration for the job.

The interviews will be held Wednesday through Friday, after which the committee expects to narrow the list down to two or more finalists, who will be presented to the full University of Louisiana System’s board Feb. 23 in a public meeting. At that point, the board is expected to make its choice for the next president.

Each of the five candidates is slated to meet with student leaders, community leaders and UNO alumni and faculty in addition to a public interview with the search committee, which is set to last nearly two hours.

The interviews are scheduled for 10:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10:15 a.m. Friday at UNO’s Homer Hitt Alumni Center.

On Wednesday, Glen Cope, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will be interviewed in the morning and New Orleans Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin in the afternoon.

On Thursday, Jaimie Hebert, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Sam Houston State University in Texas, will be interviewed in the morning and John Valery White, strategic adviser to the president of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, in the afternoon.

John Nicklow, UNO’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, is scheduled for an interview Friday morning.

The search committee is scheduled to reconvene at 2 p.m. Friday to choose at least two finalists.

Kopplin, the best-known name on the list, has served as the city’s first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer since Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office in 2010. He previously spent two years as executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state agency tasked with leading the state’s recovery after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Nicklow was named UNO’s provost in July. Before that, he spent four years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University, a campus with nearly 18,000 students.

The search committee has worked with the firm Witt/Kieffer to identify candidates for the UNO job since former UNO President Peter Fos last year announced plans to retire.

Fos’ four-year tenure, which wrapped up last month, was marred by steep funding cuts and declining enrollment in the wake of Katrina.

Over the past eight years, UNO’s state support has shrunk by more than half, from $74 million in 2008-09 to about $33 million in 2014-15. Enrollment has followed a similar downward trajectory, from 17,142 students registered pre-Katrina to just 8,423 last fall — UNO’s smallest class since 1967.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.

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