A spokesman for the search committee says the university hopes to have a new president in place by Jan. 12.
Haskell Indian Nations University's search for a new president is down to two candidates, one of whom is acting president Karen Swisher.
The other finalist, whom university officials decline to identify, will be at Haskell on Thursday and Friday for interviews with students, faculty, administrators and alumni.
After the interviews, a 13-member selection committee will choose between the two candidates and forward its recommendation to the Office of Indian Education Programs in Washington, D.C., and to the Haskell Board of Regents.
"The final selection will be made by the director of the Office of Indian Education programs," said George Godfrey, acting vice president of academic affairs at Haskell and a spokesman for the search committee.
"Once that selection has been made, a press release will be prepared and distributed," Godfrey said. "At that time, the person's name will be known."
Advertisements in federal and Indian publications attracted four qualified candidates, Godfrey said.
But "within the past week and a half, two of them have withdrawn for professional or personal reasons," he said.
Godfrey declined to identify any of the four candidates.
"For personnel reasons, I do not think that would be proper," he said.
In the past, Swisher has confirmed that she is a candidate. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Swisher has been acting president since Bob Martin resigned earlier this year to accept a teaching position at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Godfrey said he hopes -- but cannot promise -- a new president will be announced by Jan. 12, the start of the school's spring semester.
"That is my hope, but I have to be realistic and say up-front that a decision may not be reached until after the semester starts," he said.
Also, the search committee has the option of recommending neither candidate and "re-advertising the vacancy," Godfrey said.
"At this point, I cannot estimate what will happen or when it will happen."
Nevertheless, Godfrey said he's confident the search has produced "good, quality candidates."
Preferred qualifications of candidates include: a doctoral degree, dean's level leadership experience, experience in strategic planning at the bachelor's and graduate levels, knowledge of federal government policy and involvement with Indian communities.
-- Dave Ranney's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.