Western president on the short-list to lead University of Maine

Amit Chakma says the controversy surrounding his pay has taken a "tremendous toll" on him and his family. Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Months after announcing he wouldn’t seek a third term as Western University’s president, Amit Chakma is in the running for a new job south of the border.

Chakma is one of four candidates to become president of the University of Maine, according to a report on the university’s website.

The three other short-listed candidates are all from American schools.

The University of Maine began its search to replace Susan Hunter, who is expected to leave the job in June. Hunter, the first woman to lead the school in its 150-year history, took over the job in 2014.

READ MORE: No third term for Western president Amit Chakma

The university website says Chakma will be in Maine for two days, Mar. 1 and Mar. 2. A decision on who will replace Hunter is expected in March.

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Chakma and the three other finalists were selected from among 67 applicants in a national search that began early last fall.

Chakma announced last November he wouldn’t seek a second term at Western, he still has 16 months to go to complete his second term as president.

His tenure in London has seen both success and controversy. Under his leadership Western has quadrupled the number of first-year enrollment of international students, appointed more women to senior leadership roles and doubled the school’s endowment to $678 million.

READ MORE: Western researchers discover protein link between CTE, ALS

In 2015, Chakma was embroiled in controversy after the Sunshine List revealed he had received nearly $1 million in 2014 as a result of working through a scheduled sabbatical.

Chakma later apologized and announced he would voluntarily return half of his 2014 salary – the portion that came in lieu of him not taking an administrative leave.

Before his tenure as Western president, Chakma was vice-president of the University of Waterloo beginning in 2001.

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