By Shelby Brown —

The trustees have culled the original pool of 49 university presidential candidates to about 10. Interim President Greg Postel told reporters he’s still being considered for the permanent position at the trustee meeting March 15.

Trustees said they hope to have the new president named by June 1.

Interim positions on track to be filled

During his report, Postel said several interim positions are in the final stages of being filled. He said a new athletic director could be named by the end of March.

The school of nursing’s dean search will close in about four weeks. Dean Marcia Hern announced she was stepping down last February after 10 years of service.

The search for a permanent dean of the J.B. School of Engineering is also wrapping up. Gail DePuy assumed the role on an interim basis in May 2017.

The interim positions have become commonplace in the past year. The university has cycled through three presidents in about three years. Other administrative interim positions include the provost, chief financial officer and law school dean.

U of L came close to filling the CFO position in Nov. 2017 with the hiring of Jonathan Pruitt, but Postel announced in January that Pruitt had changed his mind.

Administration still hopes to avoid tuition increase

Facing a nearly $10 million cut from the state between appropriations and research, the administration is testing various scenarios as they begin building the 2018-19 budget. Postel said they’re comparing hypothetical scenarios in which they raise tuition or leave it flat, and factoring in another state cut or no state cuts.

Postel said state appropriations aren’t the only variables in whether tuition changes next year. He cited last year’s $48 million deficit and the measures taken to close the gap.

“It’s not impossible, but the math gets more difficult and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice quality,” he said.

Postel said he recognizes students don’t want school to become unaffordable.

“But if they (students) had to choose between an increase in tuition and a drop in quality, most of them would say ‘Ok, I’ll pay a couple hundred dollars more.’ A three percent increase would be $300 per student and if it was that or some loss of program quality most of them would find the $300,” Postel said.

Trustees voted in 2016 to increase tuition by five percent. Administrators celebrated keeping U of L’s tuition flat last year despite other institutions raising their rates.

Photo by Shelby Brown / The Louisville Cardinal