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APSU names three finalists in search for University’s 11th president


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On Friday afternoon, Austin Peay State University’s presidential search committee announced the three finalists for the University presidency – Dr. Michael Licari, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Indiana State University; Dr. Jaime Taylor, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Marshall University; and Dannelle Whiteside, interim president of Austin Peay who previously served as the University’s vice president for legal affairs.

The three candidates will visit campus during the week of Dec. 7 for interviews in a wide range of settings with students, faculty, staff, University leadership and members of the Austin Peay community. 

“The purposes of these visits are two-fold,” Mike O’Malley, chair of the search committee and chair of APSU’s Board of Trustees, said. “First, they will enable us to know the candidates more fully. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the visits will allow us to acquaint the candidates further with Austin Peay, its many distinctive features, and its people.” 

Michael Licari

Michael Licari

Licari will visit Austin Peay on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Wednesday, Dec. 9. As provost at Indiana State University, he oversees all academic functions of that university, as well as enrollment management and university marketing. This includes 34 academic departments housed in five colleges – Arts & Sciences, Health & Human Services, the Scott College of Business, Bayh College of Education and the College of Technology.

Licari earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a focus on public administration in 1997, a Master of Arts in Political Science, also from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in 1994, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Minnesota in 1993.

Jaime Taylor

Jaime Taylor

Taylor will visit Austin Peay on Wednesday, Dec. 9, and Thursday, Dec. 10. After earning both a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Engineering Science at the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Taylor began his academic career at Austin Peay in the Department of Physics. He spent four summers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center as a NASA Faculty Fellow with a focus on applications of soft computing.

At APSU, he served as Physics Department chair, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Taylor said he gains his greatest satisfaction from working with others to create an environment that not only helps students to achieve their dreams, but also encourages them to have big dreams to achieve.

Dannelle Whiteside

Dannelle Whiteside

Whiteside will visit campus on Thursday, Dec. 10, and Friday, Dec. 11. Her appointment by the APSU Board of Trustees as interim president made her the first Black president of the more than 90-year-old institution. Whiteside originally joined the University in 2017 as Austin Peay’s general counsel. In the spring of 2019, she was named vice president for Legal Affairs.

During her career at Austin Peay, she has also served as Secretary to the Board of Trustees. She is also adjunct faculty at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville. Prior to her time at APSU, Whiteside served as General Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, General Counsel for the Tennessee State Board of Education and District Policy Advisor for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The open forum schedule for the visits is available at https://apsu.edu/executive-search/presidential.php. Anyone attending these events in person must comply with the University’s COVID-19 guidelines, including wearing a mask while inside University buildings and affirming you are not experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to the virus.

For those who are attending in-person, seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. All of the open forums will be hosted on Zoom.