Dr. Terisa Riley

LITTLE ROCK – University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt will recommend Dr. Terisa Riley as the next chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS).

Riley, who is currently senior vice president for student affairs and university administration at Texas A&M University – Kingsville (TAMUK), is expected to begin her new role as chancellor July 1.

“While the pool of finalists was extremely strong with all of the candidates being highly qualified and making a great impression during their on-campus visits and interviews, Dr. Riley rose to the top with the clear vision and palpable energy needed to help continue the strategic growth and upward trajectory of UAFS,” Bobbitt said. “I couldn’t be any more confident in the work that our search committee, search firm and all of the various other constituents contributed during this process to help identify the next chancellor at UAFS. I am extremely excited about Dr. Riley’s arrival and the future of the university.”

Riley has served in a variety of student affairs and administrative roles at TAMUK since 2007. The Chronicle of Higher Ed named TAMUK the fastest-growing four-year doctoral university in the country the past two years. Her full bio and CV can be found here.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be recommended as the next chancellor for the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith,” Riley said. “My interactions with faculty, staff, students and members of the Fort Smith community reinforced my belief that UAFS is preparing students to work and compete globally, and that empowering students to reach their academic goals continues to be the focus of campus decision-making. UAFS has a rich and unique history as an economic advancement engine for the Fort Smith region, and I look forward to playing my part to help shape the success of the institution, the community and our students, faculty and staff for years to come.

“I would like to thank President Bobbitt for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity, and I’m grateful to the members of the search committee and the Board of Trustees for their participation in this process. I look forward to being back on campus very soon, and I am incredibly excited about joining the Fort Smith community as a resident and community leader.”

The search committee was chaired by Dr. Margaret Tanner, associate provost at UAFS, and included representatives from the UAFS faculty, staff and alumni, as well as business and community leaders from the Fort Smith area, and representatives from the UA System and the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas.

“I’m very grateful to all the members of our committee for their participation and dedication to this process,” Dr. Tanner said. “The strength of our pool of finalists demonstrated the quality institution we have at UAFS, and I am excited for Dr. Riley to lead us to even more growth and development in the years ahead.”

Former UAFS Chancellor Paul Beran, Ph.D., announced he was leaving UAFS Aug. 31 after leading the campus for more than 12 years to become the executive director and CEO of the South Dakota Higher Education Board of Regents. Bobbitt named Edward Serna, Ed.D., then chief of staff and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at UAFS, as interim chancellor as a national search for Beran’s replacement got underway.

“Dr. Serna is well-respected on campus and in the UAFS community, and I’d like to thank him for leading the campus during this time of transition,” Bobbitt said. “He did an exceptional job keeping things moving forward, and I know Dr. Riley’s transition into her new role will benefit from the great job Dr. Serna did as interim chancellor.”

The recommendation is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas at a future meeting. Trustees participated in interviews with all four finalists in late March-early April.

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