JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State University has a new chancellor.
A-State announced Dr. Kelly Damphousse will lead the school.
Dr. Charles Welch, ASU System president, made the announcement during a live Facebook feed from his office in Little Rock Wednesday morning.
Damphousse will begin his duties at A-State effective July 1. Welch said his annual salary will be $360,000.
According to the three-year contract, Damphousse will receive a deferred compensation payment each year beginning on July 1, 2018, in the amount of $40,000, paid with private funds. He will receive the deferred compensation in 2019 and 2020, and each subsequent year added to his contract. The payments will be contingent on his receiving a "satisfactory job performance evaluation from the President of the Arkansas State University System for each year the payment is due," the contract states.
In addition, if Damphousse is still the chancellor on July 1, 2022, he will receive a "longevity incentive payment" of $100,000, paid with private funds. Again, it will be contingent on his evaluation.
Damphousse will also be immediately granted tenure in the College of Liberal Arts and Communications as a full professor of sociology. Should he resign or not be reappointed, he will be able to return to a position as a full professor, receiving comparable compensation as a 12-month faculty member of the same rank. The contract will also allow him six months paid "to prepare to re-enter the classroom and to re-establish teach materials."
A-State also agreed to provide housing at 1503 E. Nettleton, membership to two Jonesboro country clubs, a cell phone, automobile, reimbursement for moving expenses, scholarship opportunities and tuition discounts for him and his family, reimbursement for travel expenses, 22.5 working days of paid annual leave, 12 days annual sick leave, health insurance, and a $1 million life insurance policy at no cost to him.
Welch said the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee voted unanimously Friday to recommend Damphousse following campus interviews with the three finalists.
"Kelly's personal story is compelling, and his blend of academic and leadership experience and history of significant student interaction are all traits that made him an ideal choice," Welch said. "His servant leadership approach and commitment to shared governance really resonated with many of us. His experience at a major research institution such as Oklahoma will benefit A-State, and I can't wait for him to get started."
A native of Canada, Damphousse served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at OU for nine years prior to becoming dean.
Damphousse, who once worked as a prison guard prior to his career in higher education, is a sociologist who has done extensive research on terrorism and substance abuse, according to a statement from A-State. He and his wife, Beth, serve as faculty-in-residence in an OU residence hall, living with 384 freshmen every year. Students voted him "Best OU Professor" in 2015.
"This is a humbling moment for me personally, but I am also very excited about this opportunity," Damphousse said. "Beth and I appreciate the confidence that President Welch, the Search Committee and the rest of A-State's community have in us. We cannot wait to get back to the Upper Delta in July so that we can begin serving our faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Jonesboro community. Together, we will all continue building on A-State's rich legacy begun so nobly by President V.C. Jays in 1910."
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