ASU System Names Debra West Mid-South Chancellor

ASU System Names Debra West Mid-South Chancellor
Debra West

Arkansas State University System President Charles Welch announced Friday the selection of Debra West as chancellor of the ASU Mid-South campus.

West will succeed Glen Fenter, who will resign June 30 as the first president of Mid-South Community College to become CEO of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce. Pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission at its June 25-26 meeting, the college will become Arkansas State University Mid-South on July 1.

"We conducted an extensive national search, had four outstanding finalists and I believe hired one of the most competent and visionary administrators in the country," Welch said in a news release. "An added benefit is Dr. West’s strong knowledge of, and commitment to, this institution and the Delta region as a whole. 

"One of the search advisory committee members stated she was looking for a candidate who was strong in communication, motivation and innovation. Dr. West definitely excels in those areas, and the response received from all campus constituencies was overwhelmingly positive regarding her leadership abilities."

West will join Mid-South on Aug. 1. Her salary will be $180,000. Barbara Baxter, executive vice president of Mid-South, will serve as interim chancellor for one month until West begins, Welch said.

A 14-member Chancellor Search Advisory Committee – with members representing faculty, staff, students and the community – reviewed 57 applications for the position. Four finalists were interviewed on campus during the past two weeks.

"I am extremely honored to be named the first chancellor of Arkansas State University Mid-South," West said. "As an East Arkansas native and former employee of Mid-South Community College, I am well-acquainted with the institution's reputation as a leader in learner-center education and workforce development.  I look forward to the opportunity to build upon the tremendous foundation that Dr. Fenter established, and I am equally excited about working with Dr. Welch and the great faculty, staff and students at Mid-South as we start a new chapter in the history of this outstanding institution."

West is Forrest City native who served as deputy executive director for programs and accountability for Mississippi Community College Board since 2009. Before that, she was the board’s associate executive director for workforce, career, and technical education and the director of postsecondary career and technical education. The MCCB is a state agency that oversees the 15 community and junior colleges in Mississippi.

At Mid-South, West was director of enrollment management from 2002-2004 and registrar and director of institutional research from 1997-2000. She also worked at East Arkansas Community College and the University of Memphis.

West was awarded a Ph.D. in community college leadership from Mississippi State University, and a bachelor and master of science from the University of Memphis.  She holds an associate of arts degree from East Arkansas Community College.

Mid-South serves about 2,000 students. The ASU System serves about 20,800 students throughout Arkansas.