As a basketball coach, John Moseley is used to the speed and precision of a fast break. As interim president of Lincoln University, his first week left him breathless.
"It's been a whirlwind of a week," Moseley said. "You certainly don't get bored."
Former LU President Jerald Jones Woolfolk announced her resignation in mid-May. The Board of Curators chose Moseley, who was previously athletic director and head men's basketball coach, to serve as interim president starting May 22.
Last week, LU named Ed Wilson the interim head men's basketball coach. Moseley still serves as the athletic director while the university conducts a search for the combined position of vice president of advancement and athletics.
"My role is to do all I can while I'm in this seat as the interim to advance the mission and the vision of the institution, to begin to try to put systems in place to address some of the needs as we identify those, and hopefully start to get more people interested in Lincoln University," Moseley said.
As interim president, Moseley said he was given the authority by the Board of Curators to make decisions for Lincoln University. He said he also expects to be a candidate for the permanent position.
"It's simple for me," Moseley said. "I am all in to do the very best job that I can do. If this breaks my way, then I'll get to do it a little bit longer. If not, then I'll pursue other opportunities outside of the university."
Curator Everidge Cade Jr. said Moseley was chosen to serve as the interim president because he understands the needs of the university and has demonstrated a commitment to Lincoln's mission and campus community.
Curator Terry Rackers said the Board of Curators wanted to appoint an interim while the search committee is formed, applications are collected and interviews could be conducted. Rackers said while it might appear that Moseley could have a leg up as a candidate, his performance as interim will be a factor the Board of Curators considers.
Moseley has been at the forefront of many LU projects in the last several years, including forming relations with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to build The Linc and invigorating membership within the Blue Tiger Athletics Club.
Rackers said he wanted the selection of an interim president to be seamless so they were looking for someone familiar with the community.
Moseley said he has spent the last week adjusting to his new role, starting conversations around priorities and forming goals for the summer and next academic year.
"Having been at the university for seven years prior in a different capacity, I've seen the university through a different lens," he said. "But now, from this seat, I understand that those experiences are not enough for this seat. So it helps me to maybe have a little bit of understanding. But I've learned that I don't have a full understanding because the view is much different."
Moseley said his immediate agenda is focused on preparation for summer programs, which begin Monday. Included in these plans is Blue Tiger Academy, a college preparation program for incoming freshmen at the university.
As summer events kick off, Moseley said he will turn his attention toward opening the campus to students in the fall. He said the university still has some decisions to make regarding COVID-19 precautions, but he is looking for a return to normal classroom and social experiences while following safety guidelines.
He said because of his background in athletics, he understands the value of teams and importance of roles on teams, an approach he is taking to the university as a whole.
Moseley said he is also working to fill two of the eight positions in the President's Advisory Council: dean of enrollment management and vice president of advancement and athletics.
The advisory council currently includes Jennifer Bening, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; Gary Hill, vice president for campus culture and LU Police chief; Sandy Koetting, vice president for finance and administration; Misty Nunn, director of communications and marketing; Laura Bennet-Smith, director of strategic initiatives; and Zakiya Brown, dean of student success.
LU is also conducting a national search for a provost in addition to its search for a president.
LU has received about 450 survey responses from students, faculty, staff and community members providing feedback on areas of success and needs for improvement. Moseley said he is also starting a listening series called "Real Talk with Dr. John Moseley" to hear from the campus community.
Moseley said he hopes to use the feedback to form a vision and plan for the upcoming school year.
"From its inception, (Lincoln University) has been a model for what can be when people from different backgrounds work together for a common goal, and that's our challenge now," he said. "The message that I want to get across is that Lincoln is and always will be a HBCU."
Previously, Moseley went to school and was the director of basketball operations, academic development coordinator and assistant basketball coach at East Carolina University. He then became assistant basketball coach at the University of Delaware, an administrative assistant at Wright State University, an assistant basketball coach at Winston-Salem State University, and associate head basketball coach at North Carolina Central University before arriving at Lincoln. Moseley said LU is the most diverse institution he's worked at.
The mission of Lincoln University, Moseley said, has been a personal one for the new interim president who grew up in a majority minority community.
"Being on an HBCU campus is really something that I'm very comfortable with," he said. "I have a diverse set of friends and family, and so the mission of an HBCU speaks to me."
Moseley said HBCUs typically have more of a family feel than the other schools he has worked at, which is a quality he hopes to advance in his time as interim president.
"There's a nurturing that takes place on an HBCU campus," he said. "Lincoln typically serves a population of students that are first-generation college students and so understanding that maybe they haven't had some of the advantages that others have had, but that requires more care for those students to ensure they can go from admission to graduation."
Moseley said celebrating successes, recognizing individual achievements and connecting the main and extension campuses are ways he hopes to promote Blue Tiger morale.
Cade and Rackers, along with Curator Stacia Bradley Brown, currently sit on the President Research Team, which will make candidate recommendations to the Board of Curators for a final decision when selecting a new president. Cade said this committee could grow to include more university stakeholders, but those selections have not been identified yet.
Cade said the candidates for LU president should have a background in education leadership, show demonstrated success in their experiences and be able to understand and communicate well with the campus community.
Still in the early stages of the search, Rackers said the university will likely hire a search firm and interview candidates from that internal and external search. The cost, which will largely come from search firm bids, and the timeline for the search are still unknown, Cade and Rackers said.
Rackers said he hopes to have more information about the search for a new president at the June 10 Board of Curators meeting.
"It would be best to do as quick as possible, and I mean as quick as possible, but we're going to make sure we go through the complete process and do it exactly right," Rackers said. "We want to get this exactly right."