The University of Arizona Cancer Center has completed the initial steps of its search for a new director, identifying five candidates for campus visits and in-depth interviews.

Search committee chair and Cancer Center member Serrine Lau, PhD, a UA professor of pharmacology and toxicology and pharmaceutical sciences and director of the UA Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, stressed that the search is still “very open” and that the committee is still accepting applications, but that the five individuals on the “short list” are outstanding, highly qualified candidates.

The 13-member committee, which includes six UACC members, sifted through more than 100 nominations on Aug. 1, with help from the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer. Thirty-five candidates completed applications. Out of that pool, the search committee selected 12 candidates for “airport interviews,” each of which lasted for roughly 75 minutes.

On July 30 and 31, the search committee conducted six airport interviews, followed by three more on Aug. 6. The committee finished the remaining three interviews on Aug. 24 and identified five candidates for first round of campus interviews.  These visits will include meetings with the search committee, current director David Alberts, MD, and various members of University of Arizona and UA College of Medicine leadership.

Dr. Lau said she hopes to conclude these interviews by the middle of October.

The candidates’ names will remain confidential through this process, with their names to become public after the search committee has narrowed this field to the final two or three candidates. These final candidates will take part in three-day interviews with Cancer Center leadership, research-centric groups, and the UA College of Medicine leadership in Phoenix. A director should be identified by Spring 2013, as selected by UA College of Medicine Dean Steve Goldschmid, MD. The new director is expected to be in place by Fall 2013.

“The candidates we have identified come from an extraordinary group of people,” said search committee member Anne Cress, PhD, deputy dean for research and academic affairs at the College of Medicine and a professor of cellular and molecular medicine and radiation oncology. “All of the candidates are excited with the research opportunities and the collaborations they can initiate here.”

Dr. Cress, a UA Cancer Center member, also pointed out that each of the five candidates has experience with comprehensive cancer centers, multidisciplinary research programs, and core grant renewal processes. Key attributes among the candidates include strong leadership and scholarship, as well as an extensive research record.

Drs. Lau, Cress and Anne Wright, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs at the UA College of Medicine and a professor of pediatrics held a forum for Cancer Center members and staff on Aug. 28 to provide updates on the search.

Dr. Alberts, who has been the UA Cancer Center director since 2005, will remain in the position until his successor arrives in Tucson. He will continue to conduct research at the Cancer Center after he leaves the director position.

• PREVIOUSLY: Search for UACC director moving forward (Act Against Cancer, July 2, 2012)


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