Finalists chosen in Study Abroad director search

Monica Kast

The Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning has narrowed its search for a new director down to three potential candidates.

Joanna Holvey Bowles, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operation Officer for the Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University, Marissa Chandler, the Director of International Education at Austin Peay State University and Caryn Lindsay, the Director of International Programs at Minnesota State University-Mankato are the three finalists.

Craig Cobane, Executive Director of the Honors College, has been serving as the Interim Director of Study Abroad and Global Learning while the search has been ongoing for someone to fill the position.

Cobane said that the former director, Laura Monarch, stepped down from the position for personal and family reasons.

The Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning decided to wait until they could do a more thorough and complete search for a new director. Cobane was named interim director, and divided up the remaining duties. Cobane said that Monarch still works about 20 hours a week from home, and Katherine Hale was named Interim Assistant Director of Study Abroad and Global Learning.

“We decided to go with an interim, and go with a really good national search,” Cobane said.

Under the new director, all duties will return to one person.

Cobane said that each candidate will come to campus for about a day and a half and will spend time with faculty, staff and students. Their time on campus includes interviews, tours and a public presentation.

After all candidates have been interviewed by the hiring committee, Cobane said that their strengths and weaknesses are evaluated to see who best lines up with what the university is looking for.

“We’re evaluating the candidates,” Cobane said. “Are they a good fit? Can they get the job done? But also, we’re selling the university. Because the candidate that we want probably has other opportunities, and we want them to be happy where they’re at, but happier with us.”

For Cobane, the best part about serving as interim director has been the increased interaction with students. Cobane said that the most stressful moment was the night of the Paris attacks in November when they were trying to verify the safety of all WKU students in the city.

“Being interim director, I get more access to students than I typically would as Chief International Officer,” Cobane said. “Being an administrator is a fantastic, rewarding position, but it does have its difficulties.”

One of the candidates has already been on campus for their interview and public presentation. Cobane said that around 20 faculty and staff were there for the presentation. The remaining two candidates will be on campus for their interviews and presentations in the coming weeks.

Cobane said he expects that the new director will start on July 1, depending on negotiations and their schedules.