Regent Don Leebern, chair of the Special Regents’ Committee for the presidential search at Valdosta State University, and University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby have announced Dr. William J. McKinney as the finalist for the next president of Valdosta State University (VSU).
McKinney is currently vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), a position he has held since 2008. In this post, McKinney oversees an annual $70 million budget and is responsible for more than 400 full time and almost 400 part-time faculty.
He also has overseen a 33 percent increase in sponsored research grants and contracts during his tenure, fueled in part by McKinney’s creation of new positions for research, community engagement, and sponsored programs.
Prior to his work at IPFW, McKinney was dean of the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts at Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, Pa. (2001-2008) and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Mo. (1997-2001). He has taught at these three institutions, as well as the University of Kentucky, Lexington.
As a result of his work in the area of academics and university management, in 2009 McKinney was picked as one of 25 members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ (AASCU) national “Red Balloon Project.” The group was charged with developing a new approach to undergraduate education that is responsive to public demands for greater accountability in higher education results in a new era of reduced state funding.
McKinney has been active in the work of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, serving on the national board of directors and in various volunteer roles. He also has been a member and held leadership positions in a range of local, state and national organizations, including Leadership Fort Wayne, Northeast Indiana Aging and In-Home Services, and the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.
He earned a bachelor of arts in history and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa. Both of his advanced degrees were earned at Indiana University in Bloomington: a master’s degree in history and the philosophy of science and a doctorate in the philosophy of science.
A national search was launched to replace VSU president Dr. Patrick Schloss, who stepped down on June 30, 2011. Dr. Louis Levy has served as interim president since Schloss stepped down.
The Board of Regents is expected to vote on McKinney’s candidacy at a future meeting.