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Presidential search begins at SUNY Canton

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CANTON — SUNY Canton has received permission to begin its search for a college president, and if all goes according to plan, a candidate will be selected in time for the fall 2014 semester.

State University of New York officials gave the college the official go-ahead on Monday.

The college will work with Albany to hire a search consultant, which then will begin to create a list of suitable candidates.

“That’s our very first step. Simultaneously, however, we are reforming the search committee on our own campus,” said Ronald M. O’Neill, SUNY Canton College Council chairman.

Mr. O’Neill will serve as chairman of the search committee, along with three other members of the College Council, six faculty members and other college representatives.

The SUNY board of trustees appointed Joseph C. Hoffman as acting president last month. Mr. Hoffman began work Saturday and will serve as president until the search is complete.

Mr. Hoffman previously served as provost at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx. He replaces SUNY Canton’s interim president, Carli C. Schiffner.

The college has been without a formal president since Joseph L. Kennedy retired in 2012 after nearly 20 years.

As acting president, Mr. Hoffman is eligible to apply for the official position.

“He did indicate that he would be interested in that, but he has not yet made his final decision,” college spokesman Ryan P. Deuel said.

Mr. Hoffman was not available for comment Tuesday.

The college’s next president will have to strike a balance between academic ability, administrative skills and interpersonal talents, according to Mr. O’Neill.

“It’s quite a responsibility, but I am confident that we will have a successful search,” he said. “I’m really excited about it.”

SUNY’s permission to begin a search is a final sign that any plans for a shared presidency between the Canton and Potsdam campuses have been put to rest, according to Mr. O’Neill. While some shared services still will be pursued, the colleges’ leadership will remain separate.

“There is no doubt,” he said.

The search committee is expected to recommend a short list of candidates to the College Council by next spring. The council will recommend three candidates to SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who will make a final recommendation.

“I think it will move along fairly quickly,” Mr. O’Neill said.

As for Mr. Hoffman, he is going to spend the summer learning more about SUNY Canton, along with its faculty, staff and students, according to Mr. Deuel.

“He wants to get to know the campus so that by the time the freshmen get here in the fall, he will be ready to go,” Mr. Deuel said.

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