The University of Maine at Augusta has narrowed the field of candidates to serve as the school’s next president to three.

The candidates, none of whom now works in the university system or lives in Maine, are expected to visit the campuses later this fall to meet with students, the staff and community members, UMA spokesman Dan Demeritt wrote in a news release.

The three candidates are James Conneely, a senior consultant for New York-based Keeling & Associates; Guiyou Huang, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty for Norwich University in Vermont; and Lawrence Gould, political science professor at Fort Hayes State University in Kansas.

Rebecca Wyke, who served as vice chancellor for finance and administration and treasurer for seven years before taking over as interim president in June, is not among the finalists. Wyke said in June that she was considering applying to fill the position permanently, but it’s unclear if she was one of the 71 applicants. Demeritt said all applicants are guaranteed anonymity unless selected as a finalist. Demeritt said Wyke would return to her role as vice chancellor as planned once the new president is on board.

“Rebecca Wyke is among Maine’s most accomplished public servants and has provided strong leadership for the university system,” Demeritt said.

Wyke, in June, said she would head an effort by the University of Maine System Presidents Council to develop an online and distance learning strategy and platform for the system’s seven universities. Wyke also said she hoped to complete the university’s capital campaign goal of raising $5 million by the end of the year and to work toward building student housing on campus.

Wyke said in a statement Wednesday that she continues to enjoy her time as president.

“I have learned so much, but it is my intention to use this experience to enhance my understanding of how the system can best serve its seven campuses when I return to my post as vice chancellor,” she said.

Demeritt said the search committee, which consists of a chancellor’s designee, representatives from the boards of trustees and visitors as well as faculty, staff, students and the community, interviewed nine candidates before selecting the three finalists.

“We expected the opportunity to lead a university that is earning national attention for its innovative and energetic approach to transforming the lives of students of every age and background across Maine to produce a large and talented pool of candidates,” University of Maine System Trustee Marjorie Medd, chairwoman of the search committee, said in the release. “We were not disappointed and very much appreciate the interest of all applicants who asked to be considered.”

The search committee, after the candidates’ visits, which are slated for later this month and October, will consider community comments and send final findings to University of Maine System Chancellor James Page. Demeritt said the board of trustees will consider the chancellor’s recommendation at its November meeting. The new president should arrive on campus early next year.

The university, which has campuses in Augusta and Bangor, has been without a permanent president since Allyson Handley left in 2014 to take a job in California after more than six years in Augusta. Glenn Cummings, a former Democratic Maine House speaker, served as interim president until May, when he became president of the University of Southern Maine. Wyke was named Cummings’ successor a few weeks later. The search for a permanent replacement began in May.

Demeritt said the candidates responded to direct solicitations and national advertising. The group included “proven leaders in higher education,” Demeritt said, describing it as one of the larger applicant pools the university system has had in the past decade.

“Throughout the process input was sought from the campuses and broader communities to help shape the direction of the search,” Demeritt said.

Conneely, who holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Georgia State University, has been president of Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, associate provost and vice president for student affairs at Eastern Kentucky University and assistant vice chancellor of student affairs at the University of Arkansas.

Huang, who holds a doctorate in English from Texas A&M University, previously was vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Norwich. Huang was dean of undergraduate studies and programs and dean of the Biscayne College of liberal arts and social sciences before joining Norwich.

Gould, who holds a doctorate in political science from Purdue University, has held a number of positions at Fort Hayes State University, including provost/chief academic officer, interim dean of the College of Business and Leadership, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and executive assistant to the president. Gould also is the founder and director of the Docking Institute of Public Affairs.

Medd, in the release, thanked the search committee for its work.

“We encourage broad participation in the campus visits and ask for the feedback necessary to find the right president to join what is already a very strong leadership team at UMA,” Medd said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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