New Orleans Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin is among five candidates under consideration to lead the struggling University of New Orleans. The group also includes several university provosts, including UNO’s.
Kopplin has served as the city’s first deputy mayor and chief administrative officer since Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office in 2010. Before that, he spent two years as a senior adviser at Teach for America and two years as executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state agency tasked with leading the state’s recovery after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Kopplin also served as chief of staff to former Louisiana Govs. Kathleen Blanco and Mike Foster. He has a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University.
John Nicklow, UNO’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, also made the cut.
Nicklow has been in his current post since July. Before that, he spent four years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University, a flagship campus with nearly 18,000 students.
Rounding out the list of candidates are Glen Hahn Cope, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; Jaimie Hebert, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Sam Houston State University in Texas; and John Valery White, strategic adviser to the president of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
A search committee has worked with the firm Witt/Kieffer since the fall to identify candidates for the UNO job. The committee met Thursday and narrowed its list of 10 candidates to five.
“It was a tremendous challenge to narrow a field of 10 terrific candidates to five, but I am confident the committee chose the right group to move forward in the process,” said Dan Reneau, interim president of the University of Louisiana System and chairman of the search committee.
The candidates will participate in public interviews at UNO Feb. 17-19.
The search committee is scheduled to meet Feb. 19 to narrow the list further, selecting finalists who will interview with the UL system’s board Feb. 23 in a public meeting, after which the board is expected to make its choice.
UNO President Peter Fos retired this month from the helm of the Lakefront school. He announced his retirement in August.
Fos’ four-year tenure at UNO was marked by steep funding cuts and declining enrollment in the wake of Katrina.
Over the past eight years, UNO’s state support has shrunk by more than half, from $74 million in 2008-09 to about $33 million in 2014-15. Enrollment has followed a similar downward trajectory, from 17,142 students registered pre-Katrina to just 8,423 last fall — UNO’s smallest class since 1967.
Editor’s note: This story was changed on Jan. 29, 2016 to correct how long Peter Fos served as UNO’s president before retiring this month.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.