Changes on the way at Alabama State University

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama State University Interim President Dr. William Harris announced Tuesday the first of many sweeping changes.

At an afternoon news conference Harris announced a reorganization of the institution from top to bottom in order to focus all operations under two main areas - academics and support services.

Harris says the new organization will streamline the university, allowing for better service to students, faculty and staff.

To accomplish this goal Harris named two new positions.

Dr. Karyn Scissum-Gunn, professor and  chair of the Department of Biology, will now serve as interim university provost. All ASU faculty members will report to her. Scissum-Gunn will oversee all academic departments, colleges and programs, including student affairs.

Dr. John F. Knight, Jr., who until Tuesday held the position of Special Assistant to the President, will serve in an interim capacity as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Alabama State University. All non-faculty staff will report to him. Knight will serve as the University's highest ranking non-academic official, overseeing fiscal matters and physical facilities, including athletics, security, properties, endowment funds, business and financial affairs, residence halls and human resources.

"I decided we should reorganize the University to reflect more accurately our continuing growth and diversity," Harris said.  "I have created two new positions that will report directly to the president's office and will exercise day-to-day oversight over major segments of the University's functions."

Harris said he was delighted to have both Scissum-Gunn and Knight by his side, and said he was looking forward to working with them as the reorganization process continued.