By Jenna Duncan
Carine Feyten, the dean of the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University in Ohio, was named the sole finalist for chancellor and president of Texas Woman’s University.
The Board of Regents voted unanimously on the action following a two-and-a-half-hour executive session Friday morning, though two board members and the student regent were absent.
“We’re really excited — she brings to us the full credentials that you would want,” said TWU Regent George Schrader, who led the search.
By law, the board must wait 21 days before it can appoint Feyten to the position now held by President and Chancellor Ann Stuart, who is retiring from the university in May.
In the meantime, Feyten said she plans to familiarize herself with the university and its campuses. She will spend April 8 at the Denton campus and April 9 in Dallas and Houston to meet with students, faculty and staff.
“The faculty, the students, the campus and the community — those are the most important people,” Feyten said. “The campus and university is nothing without the faculty, students and staff and the community around it, and I haven’t had an opportunity to do that so that’s going to be my biggest research area. That’s something I’m really anxious to engage in.”
Feyten said she was drawn to the position by the university’s historic mission of focusing on women, its strength in emerging fields such as health sciences and the strong leadership already in place at the school.
“I feel like it’s an institution that is positioned well for the future that has the strengths and the tools that it needs to move forward, so in that sense it’s a really interesting place with lots of opportunities,” she said.
The strong leadership team in place will help her if she is appointed, Feyten said. She described her leadership style as collaborative.
“I’ll be spending a lot of time learning at first and listening to a lot of people and learning about the place, then hopefully together we can really set a path and work on that,” she said.
Sue Bancroft, chairwoman of the TWU Board of Regents, said Feyten’s collaborative style was apparent to the board, as well as other valuable qualities such as her experience in national and international partnerships. A native of Belgium, Feyten also speaks five languages.
“She’s an extraordinary person, and she identifies with the mission of Texas Woman’s University,” Bancroft said. “She works well, she’s a leader, she’s a team builder ... and she knows how to do what we need at Texas Woman’s University now, along with being an academic. She’s just a great fit.”
Feyten, who holds a doctorate degree in interdisciplinary education and second language acquisition from the University of South Florida, has been dean of the College of Education, Health and Society at Miami University since 2006.
Her accomplishments at the university include increasing enrollment and retention rates to 90 percent from freshman to sophomore levels, raising $27 million for a capital campaign and having the highest college graduation rate on campus.
Prior to joining Miami University, she was the associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Education at the University of South Florida. She joined the faculty there in 1988, and taught courses in foreign language education, second language acquisition and applied linguistics.
The announcement Friday was ahead of schedule, which had estimated a sole finalist would be selected in April with negotiations being finalized by mid-May.
Dallas search firm Korn/Ferry assisted the regents with the search beginning in October, after Stuart made it clear that the 2013-2014 academic year would be her last at the institution. While she announced her retirement in November 2012, she agreed to stay in the position until her successor was named.
While Stuart has accomplished a lot in her 14-year tenure and will be missed, Feyten will be able to continue the university’s growth and quality trajectory, Bancroft said.
“I’m proud, very proud, to be part of this university, and I’m very proud of Carine Feyten,” Bancroft said. “I think people are going to find out that she sees this is as a mission and is really excited, dynamic and is a real forward-looking leader.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.