Joan T. A. Gabel, University of South Carolina provost, becomes sole finalist for University of Minnesota president

University seal

Today the University of Minnesota Board of Regents named Joan T. A. Gabel as the sole finalist for the position of 17th President of the University of Minnesota.

“We are excited to introduce the full Board of Regents and the entire University of Minnesota community to Provost Joan Gabel,” said Board of Regents Chair David McMillan. “Provost Gabel has shown strong leadership at the University of South Carolina and her previous institutions, and the Presidential Search Advisory Committee strongly recommended her after in-depth analysis and a comparison of 67 total candidates.

“However, our search and interviewing process is not complete,” McMillan said. “Our campuses and the Board will engage fully with Provost Gabel in multiple public settings. If at the end of the process the Board is confident she will succeed as our next president, it will vote to support her. If a vote is not successful, we will return to the pool to publicly interview additional candidates.”

The remaining two candidates who were recommended to the full Board by the Presidential Search Advisory Committee have agreed to remain in the pool of private candidates either until they are named finalists, or until the Board successfully names a new president.

Gabel’s Background

Gabel has served as the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina since 2015. As the chief academic officer, she oversees the schools and colleges of the USC Columbia campus. Previously, she served as dean of the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business for five years. While at Missouri, Gabel was named a “shining star” by the Wall Street Journal and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bunche, Kemper and Holmes-Cardozo awards for Excellence in Research.

Before joining the University of Missouri, she served as the DeSantis Professor and chair of the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate & Legal Studies at Florida State University’s College of Business. She was also director of international relations for the College of Business, and served on the faculty of the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University for 11 years. While there, she was interim director of the Institute of International Business and faculty director of the Atlanta Compliance and Ethics Roundtable. She has also served as editor-in-chief of the American Business Law Journal.

Raised in Atlanta, Gabel earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia. She and her husband, Gary, have three children: a daughter who lives and works in Seattle, a son who is a junior in college, and a son who is a junior in high school.

Gabel’s full background is available here.

Today’s Board Deliberations

The Board of Regents voted 11-1 to name Gabel the sole finalist in a special Board meeting this afternoon after considerable discussion of three candidates, as well as other finalists in the original pool of 67 applicants. The Board vote makes the names of finalists public under the Minnesota Data Practices Act (Minn. Stat. 13.43, subd. 3). According to that law, an applicant’s identity is private until that applicant has been selected for a final interview by the appointing authority, in this case, the Board of Regents.

“When we began this search process, our goal was to forward multiple candidates for public consideration. However the other two candidates forwarded by the Search Advisory Committee told the Board that they were willing to move to the final and public phases of our search only if they were the sole finalist,” McMillan said. “Since we could not provide that assurance to more than one candidate, the remaining two candidates agreed to stay in the pool so we may consider their candidacy further and interview them in the future if necessary.

“We respect their right to make this choice. As any job seeker understands, there is a delicate relationship between a candidate, their present employer, and their prospective employer. The early part of our search process made every effort to avoid this scenario, but ultimately, candidates make their own decisions about their candidacy and the Board has no choice but to respect that,” McMillan said.

Next Steps: Campus Community Engagement

The final steps of the search process will reinforce the Board’s commitment to transparency and engagement with the University community. In fact, the University community helped launch the search – with engagement sessions at each of the University’s five campuses – and next week, the University community will inform the full Board’s deliberations.

Gabel will visit the campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the East Bank and St. Paul campuses in the Twin Cities for public forums Dec. 10-12 (details to follow by the end of this week). Information gathered during these forums, as well as feedback that continues to be received at president-search.umn.edu, will inform the full Board of Regents when it gathers during its regularly scheduled meeting time on the morning of Friday, Dec. 14 to interview Gabel.

“I am excited for the University community to meet Provost Gabel in person next week and to proceed with finalist interviews,” McMillan said.

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
12/05/2018