Borsig to serve as Henderson interim chancellor, pending final approvals

Dr. Jim Borsig (Photo courtesy Mississippi University for Women)

Announcement from Dr. Charles Welch, president of the Arkansas State University System:

Today I have a significant announcement about our future. Since we made the decision to postpone the search for our permanent Chancellor, I have been working with the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee to devise a longer-term interim leadership plan for Henderson. This is a model I previously used at Arkansas State University with great success, and I am confident this will be a solid approach for Henderson. I spent the past several weeks visiting with prospective candidates from around the country. I was impressed with the level of response and the caliber of those interested. I ultimately presented candidates to the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee for its review, and we conducted Zoom meetings with the candidates. I also consulted with the Henderson State University Board of Trustees. This abbreviated process is only for an interim hire. When we resume the search for a permanent chancellor, we will return to the more broad-based and comprehensive process I outlined last fall.

As a result of our work, I am pleased to announce that I am prepared to hire Dr. Jim Borsig to be Interim Chancellor of Henderson State University pending final approvals. Dr. Borsig was introduced to me by “The Registry,” which is recognized as the leading organization in higher education for assisting with placement of interim administrators. I interviewed candidates associated with the Registry, as well as additional candidates not associated with the Registry, and Dr. Borsig clearly rose to the top.

From 2012 to 2018, Dr. Borsig was the President of Mississippi University for Women (MUW), a co-educational university of approximately 2,800 students located in Columbus. Prior to this position, he served in multiple administrative roles for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, which is the governing body for eight public universities. We are fortunate to attract a candidate with considerable experience in higher education crisis management as both a campus CEO and a system-level administrator. His vast experience will prove invaluable to us as we continue this transition and recovery.

I contacted multiple references, none of whom were supplied by Dr. Borsig. From faculty, to staff, to supervisors, Dr. Borsig was universally praised for his leadership skills, communication abilities, and approachability. He was described as “transparent,” “visionary,” “courageous,” “very popular,” and “knowledgeable of the academy.” I was told how he arrived at MUW during a time of significant internal discord, financial challenges, and divisions regarding the future of the institution. I was consistently told that he managed to resolve all of these issues, increase enrollment, streamline university operations, and set the university on a much stronger course. One reference even stated, “I would advise you to get in the car right now, drive to wherever Jim Borsig is, and get him to sign on the dotted line immediately.”

Dr. Borsig will plan to officially begin at Henderson in late July, following formal state approval of the Registry contracting process. Upon approval, Dr. Borsig will receive a one-year employment contract with the understanding that we could extend to a second year by mutual agreement. He will earn an annual salary of $230,000, which will be the lowest of the ten public university CEOs in Arkansas. The Registry fee will be comparable to what Dr. Borsig would be eligible to receive in university benefits, but Registry candidates themselves do not receive university benefits.

I also want to take this time to thank Elaine Kneebone for her outstanding service as our Acting President for the last 12 months. Elaine excelled in a position to which she did not aspire and brought much needed stability to our university during one of the most difficult times in the history of Henderson. She led with integrity, compassion, and humility. With open communication and grace, she rebuilt many relationships and helped restore the confidence of the campus, community, and alumni in Henderson’s future. She was decisive and courageous in making the tough decisions that were in the best interest of the university. For over a year, she has placed service to the university above all else. We are all forever indebted to Elaine for stepping up during incredibly challenging times, her tireless efforts to serve and strengthen her alma mater, and for leading the university in its difficult initial steps toward recovery. I consider Elaine a valued colleague, and close friend, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with her as she returns to her role as Henderson’s General Counsel. Elaine Kneebone is a Henderson State University treasure and will long be remembered for her sacrifice and commitment when Henderson needed her calm and steady leadership. To me, she exemplifies the heart of Henderson and the resilience of the Reddie Spirit.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not offer my thanks to the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee. This group worked very hard to represent our campus constituencies, and I am greatly appreciative of their time and service. We are blessed with an exceptionally strong campus community, and these committee members certainly represented the best of Henderson.

I will be sharing additional information regarding our transition soon, and we will convene a virtual welcome event for Dr. Borsig so you can “meet” and hear from him directly. In the meantime, please continue to stay safe, and thank you for all you are doing for Henderson.

Dr. Jim Borsig


Ph.D., Public Policy and Administration, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS

Special field examination: Rural Administration (with distinction)

M. S., Political Science with concentration in public administration, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

B.S., Political Science and American Studies, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS

Scholarly interests: public finance, municipal government, higher education policy

Academic Appointments

Professor, Political Science, Mississippi University for Women, 2012 to 2018

Visiting Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, Jackson State University, 2007-2012

Advanced Training

New Presidents Academy (2012)

American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Senior Executive Institute (1990)

Weldon C. Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia

Higher Education Experience

President Emeritus, Mississippi University for Women, 2018

President, Mississippi University for Women, 2012 to 2018

Interim Commissioner of Higher Education, Mississippi IHL, 2015

Associate Commissioner of Higher Education, Mississippi IHL 2007-2012

Executive Assistant to the President, University of Southern Mississippi, 2000-2001

Research and Development Coordinator, John Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University, 1992-1993 2

Professional Experience

Partner, Leading Solutions Consulting, 2018 to present

Manager, Corporate Information and Planning, Finance, Cooperative Energy, 2004-2007

Chief Administrative Officer, City of Biloxi, MS 2001-2004

Director, Center for Member Programs, National League of Cities, 1999-2000

Organizer, Jackson Medical Education District, 1998-1999

Executive Director, Mississippi Municipal League, 1994-1998

Director, Planning and Development, City of Jackson, 1993-1994

Chief Administrative Officer, City of Hattiesburg, 1989-1992

Executive Director, Harrison Waterway District, 1988-1989

Director of Planning and Development, Public Safety, City of Hattiesburg, 1986-1988

Consultant, 1984-1988

Administrative Assistant to the Mayor, City of Hattiesburg, 1980-1984

Staff Consultant, Morris and McDaniel, Inc., 1979-1980

Professional Activities

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges,

• Board of Directors, 2015 to 2018

• Peer Review Advisory Board, 2017 to 2018

American Association of State Colleges and Universities,

• Committee on Policies and Purposes, 2012 to 2017

• Council of State Representatives, 2015 to 2018

• Teacher Preparation Ad Hoc Committee, 2016 to 2018

Dual Enrollment Task Force, State of Mississippi, Chair, 2016 to 2018

Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, 2012 to 2018, President, 2014

John C. Stennis Institute of Government Advisory Council, 2005 to 2012

MPPA Advisory Committee, Mississippi State University, 2002 to 2012

Mississippi Education Achievement Council

• Secretary, 2010 to 2012

• Co-chair, 2012 to 2018

Wicker Center Advisory Board, Mississippi University for Women, 2011

Academic and Professional Organizations

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Association of State Colleges and Universities

American Society for Public Administration

Pi Alpha Alpha, Mississippi State University Chapter 3

Honors and Awards

Eagle Scout

Local Public Administrator of the Year, Mississippi ASPA Chapter

National Distinguished Service Award, Order of the Arrow, BSA

Omicron Delta Kappa, University of Southern Mississippi

Mortar Board, Mississippi University for Women

University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame

Silver Beaver Award, Pushmataha Area Council, BSA

Distinguished Citizen Award, Andrew Jackson Council, BSA

Leadership Mississippi, Mississippi Economic Council

Presentations and Technical Assistance (Select)

Presidential Responses to “Liberal Arts in the 21st Century” Keynote address by William D. Adams, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities, panelist, Conference on the Liberal Arts, 2016

The First Year, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, 2013

Hurricane Katrina Recovery. G & T Cooperatives, Finance & Accounting Meeting, 2006

Enterprise Computing for Local Governments. The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1999

The Future of Local Government. The Wyoming Association of Municipalities, 1999

Technology Enterprise Opportunities. National League of Cities, 1999

Planning for Neighborhoods. American Planning Association, National Leadership Conference, 1996

Mississippi Small Town Development Act. National League of Cities, 1995

Dynamics of Small Town Survival. Mississippi Rural Development Council, 1995

Neighborhoods in the Livable Community. Livable Communities Conference, Meridian, Mississippi, 1993

City Halls and Neighborhoods—the Key Public-Private Partnership. Neighborhoods USA National Conference, 1993

Expert Witness before the Mississippi Public Service Commission, 1992

ICMA National Workshop on Ethics, 1991 4

Applied Research and Publications (Select)

Project Degree Completion, (2013). Public Purpose, American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Energy Management Efficiency Report. (2010). With Jim Jones. Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Graduation Rate Task Force Report. (2009). Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning for the Mississippi Legislature pursuant to HB 1008.

Textbook Efficiency Report. (2009). Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Strategic Initiative on Increasing Baccalaureate Degree Completion in Mississippi. (2008). Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Making Opportunity Affordable, Lumina Foundation Planning Year grant, 2008-2010.

“Planning, Zoning, and Neighborhoods,” Chapter Ten. (1997). Handbook for Mississippi Municipal Officials. Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Service.

Neighborhood Service Delivery. ICMA Management Information Service Report. (1993). International City-County Management Association, Washington, D. C

Modern Local Government in Mississippi: Service Delivery and Organizational Structure. (1993). Co-Principal Investigator with Martin Wiseman. John C. Stennis Institute of Government.

Policy Briefs for the 1993 Legislative Session. (1992). Co-Editor with Martin Wiseman. John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University.

Study of the City of Biloxi for the Biloxi Bay Business Council. (1992). With Ed Clynch and Martin Wiseman. John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University.

Revitalizing the Neighborhoods of Greenville, Mississippi. (1992). Principal Investigator. Community/Economic Development Center, Mississippi State University.

Local Governments of Mississippi: A Study of the Revenues and Expenditures. (1992). Co-Principal Investigator With Martin Wiseman. John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University. 5

Public and Community Service

Boothbay Region Student Aid Fund, Board of Directors, 2018 to present

Historic Preservation Commission, City of Columbus, 2015 to 2018, Chair 2017

Baptist Hospital—Golden Triangle, Community Advisory Board, 2016 to 2018

Pushmataha Area Council, BSA, Executive Board, 2013 to 2018

Pushmataha Area Council, BSA, President 2015 – 2017

Lowndes County United Way Board of Directors 2012 - 2015

Blueprint Mississippi, Advisory Council; Economic Competitiveness Committee, 2011

Forrest County Industrial Park Commission, 2005 to 2007

Harrison County 911 Commission, 2002-2004

Census 2000 State Complete Count Committee, 1998-1999

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Board of Directors, 1997-1999

Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Board, 1994-1998

Governor’s Task Force on Water and Wastewater, 1994-1998

Mississippi Main Street Board of Directors, 1994-1999

Mississippi Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, member, 1990-1994

Pine Belt Regional Solid Waste Authority, Chairman, 1989-1992

Mississippi Water Resources Planning Task Force, 1988-1989