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Auburn's Hardgrave misses out on Oklahoma State president's job

Auburn's Hardgrave misses out on Oklahoma State president's job

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Auburn University Provost Bill Hardgrave will be staying put for now, it appears.

Hardgrave was one of the finalists for the presidency of Oklahoma State University, but that school’s governing board announced late Friday that Dr. Kayse Shrum, an internal candidate, will get the job.

It would have been a reunion for Hardgrave, as he had worked previously at Oklahoma State before taking over as Dean of the Harbert College of Business in 2010. He also taught at the school and obtained his Ph.D. in Management Information Systems there in 1993. In addition, he spent several years at the University of Arkansas in various administrative and faculty roles.

It wasn’t the first time Hardgrave missed out on the top job at a major university. He was a finalist in 2019 for the Chancellorship at the University of Tennessee, and has been a candidate for the president’s chair at the University of Central Florida and the University of Mississippi in recent years.

Hardgrave has been a lightning rod of sorts for some Auburn University faculty since taking over as provost in 2018. Some faculty members have complained over the last several months that Hardgrave should consult with them more, especially in the scheduling and makeup of classes since COVID-19 shut down the campus in March 2020.

Economics professor Michael Stern led an effort late last year to subject Hardgrave to a no-confidence vote by faculty members. The University Senate’s leadership hosted a raucous online conference in January of this year that was attended by some 1,200 faculty members. The group ultimately voted overwhelmingly not to hold the no-confidence vote.

Hardgrave has also been named in federal lawsuits filed by Stern and his economics colleague Alan Seals over their removal from administrative positions within their department. Those cases aren’t expected to get to trial until August or September of this year, at the earliest.

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