Gard­ner named to in­terim post of UAMS chief

Starts Aug. 1 af­ter Rahn ex­its

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - AZIZA MUSA

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.

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