Gardner named to interim post of UAMS chief
Starts Aug. 1 after Rahn exits
The University of Arkansas System on Friday named an interim leader for its academic medical center.
UA System President Donald Bobbitt appointed Stephanie Gardner as interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The appointment comes as the system winds down a search for a permanent chancellor to replace Dr. Dan Rahn, 67, who is retiring at the end of the month after leading the academic medical center for nearly eight years.
“Dr. Rahn has assembled an exceptional administrative team and there are a number of individuals in his cabinet who I felt could accept this responsibility,” Bobbitt said in a prepared statement. “In the final analysis, I believe we have identified an excellent individual to lead UAMS during this interim period. Dr. Gardner has a complete understanding of the academic mission of UAMS, and will work closely with Dr. Pope Moseley and Dr. Richard Turnage to ensure that the clinical enterprise continues its rapid progress.”
On Thursday, the system named two finalists for the post: Dr. Danny O. Jacobs, 62, executive vice president, provost and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and Dr. A. Wesley Burks, 63, executive dean of the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Both finalists are scheduled for four-day visits to UAMS’ Little Rock and Northwest Arkansas campuses this month — Jacobs from July 16-19 and Burks from July 25-28. The visits include interviews with faculty, staff and student leaders, along with administrators and UA trustees.
Gardner, 52, will fill the interim role until the winning finalist can start.
She started working at UAMS in 1991 as an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1996, she became the head of that department within the College of Pharmacy and went on to lead the college in 2004.
In her tenure as dean of the pharmacy college, Gardner moved the needle for the college’s position in total research funding — its ranking moved from No. 61 in the nation in 2008 to No. 27 in 2014, said Leslie Taylor, UAMS’ vice chancellor for the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Gardner also expanded class sizes from 90 to 120 students and added pharmacy education to the Northwest Arkansas regional campus, increasing the college’s overall enrollment by nearly 42 percent from 335 in 2003 to 475 in 2015, Taylor said.
In 2015, Gardner was promoted to senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, leading 73 academic programs across UAMS’ five colleges and graduate school.
She currently earns $357,000 annually, Taylor said. She will earn an extra 25 percent of her current salary — $89,250 more — for her role as interim starting Aug. 1, said Nate Hinkel, the system’s director of communications.
Rahn earns $630,000 annually, plus a car and $13,000 for housing. On top of that, he earns $270,000 in annual deferred compensation, which is set aside for retirement, from the UAMS foundation.