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Engineering dean named finalist for N.C. university chancellor

March 5, 2004
Janie Fouke, Dean of the College of Engineering, sits in her office during an April 2003 interview at the Engineering Building. Fouke is a finalist for the chancellor's job at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

College of Engineering Dean Janie Fouke is a finalist for chancellor's job at East Carolina University.

The North Carolina native is noted for her work in bioengineering and should know this month if she will be East Carolina's top administrator.

MSU spokesman Terry Denbow said he is not surprised Fouke is a candidate at the Greenville, N.C. university.

"It is natural for a school like East Carolina to come looking for someone like Janie," he said. "At Michigan State we do a lot of cross disciplinary type things. That is attractive to other schools."

The East Carolina Chancellor Search Committee planned to meet with candidates this week and should forward a list to University of North Carolina President Molly Corbett Broad today. East Carolina is part of the University of North Carolina system.

Broad's choice is expected to be considered at the University of North Carolina Board of Governors' March 19 meeting, according to a East Carolina news release.

Thomas Wolff, associate dean of engineering for undergraduate studies, said Fouke will "absolutely" be missed if she leaves the school.

"She has done an number of things regarding streamlining operations and responding to the impending budget cuts that essentially has put the college in about as good a position it could be in these circumstances," he said, noting that her leadership during bad budget times is a factor that probably made her appealing to other institutions.

"I think she would say that she is not seeking a position elsewhere because of any reasons here," Wolff said. "When you're recruited or asked to consider applying for a position and it's back where you came from and it's a prestigious position, you have to give the opportunity serious consideration."

"She's not scouring the ads looking to get out from here," he said.

Fouke's office said she was out of town today but declined to comment further.

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. reported today that Fouke is among three finalists for the job. Steve Ballard, provost at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Roderick McDavis, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, also were named as candidates.

Fouke's consideration marks the second time in five months that an MSU dean has been considered for the top spot at another university. In November, former Communications Dean James Spaniolo was appointed president at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Denbow said, like Spaniolo, Fouke's chances are good, despite not serving as a provost or as another top administration official.

"As Jim said, when he went to Texas at Arlington, the fact he had Michigan State by his name meant a lot," Denbow said. "Michigan State University is looked at by others as a place where leaders are developed."

Fouke's possible departure is not linked to MSU's budget woes or reorganization efforts, Denbow said.

"Every public university in the country is facing internal issues," he said. "It is never a concern for us when someone is looking at a presidency or chancellorship."

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