By Emily Bruzzo, Staff Writer
Published in print Nov.12, 2014
On Oct. 20, Chancellor Linda Brady announced to the UNC-Greensboro community her plans to retire on July 31, 2015.
As the university prepares itself for change, the extensive search process for a new chancellor has shot to the top of the list of UNCG’s priorities.
As explained in a PowerPoint presentation provided by Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Bonita Brown, the search process is a complicated one, weighted down by considerable guidelines and specifics.
The presentation clarifies many of the procedural issues, however.
The UNC board of governors, upon the recommendation of UNC President Tom Ross, makes the actual appointment of a chancellor.
However, before the vote for appointment can take place, the university itself must follow a strict procedure for narrowing down a pool of candidates to just one finalist.
The first step in the process is a crucial one, and it will begin sometime this month.
The UNCG board of trustees must appoint a chancellor search committee.
Susan Safran, chair of the board of trustees and the person charged with heading the search committee, explained in an email that the board is currently reviewing the protocols for the appointment of a search committee.
The ask process will begin once the board members have had ample time to submit recommendations.
“It is important to try to have the best campus representation that we can have… I know that no matter how hard we try we will not be able to please everyone. That is just human nature,” Safran asserted.
The committee must consist of a conglomerate of board of trustees members, faculty, students, staff, alumni members and representatives of additional campus constituencies the board feels are necessary to include.
As far as appointments go, Safran said, “No one has been selected, or even approached yet.”
The committee, during the time that it functions, is an auxiliary of the board of trustees.
As such, it is subject to all the same rules and regulations, including mandatory open meetings and notice requirements.
The chancellor search committee, once it is appointed, is required by the Open Meetings Act to: give notice of all meetings, allow the public to attend, maintain minutes and meet in open session— unless an exception applies.
In order to make information about the search process accessible to the UNCG community, Safran explained that a website will be set up soon.
Furthermore, there will be numerous forums held, most likely in January, for community members to express their concerns, pose queries and offer input on the search process.
The second step in the process is also a crucial one, and it determines the search-type the committee will employ.
There are three possible search-types: open, closed or hybrid.
The search committee will take into account the community’s desired type, but ultimately it is the committee’s decision which method is implemented.
The open search-type allows for the names of chancellor candidates to be released publicly from the start of the process.
Open searches are rare, as candidates who are currently sitting chancellors or provosts at other institutions are less likely to apply, so as not to compromise the positions they currently hold.
Closed search-types do not allow for the release of candidates’ names, and the university community is not informed of whom the finalists a.
The community will only be told the name of the candidate selected for the chancellor position.
The hybrid search, a method similar to the approach UNCG employed in its search for a new provost last spring, has become popular with many universities, as it allows for specially selected campus groups to meet with chancellor candidates.
The only stipulation is that the specially selected groups must keep the candidates’ names confidential.
“This is very important,” Safran asserted, “Because I understand that if we do not keep the applicants confidential, they will withdraw if their name gets released before the final decision.”
Concerning Chancellor Brady’s recent remarks at a faculty senate meeting that the worsening divide of the UNCG community is a potential threat to the chancellor search, Safran said, “I do not know what a potential candidate would look at before they choose to submit an application.”
“The one search committee I served on for an administrative position, it was very clear to me that all the candidates did a lot of online research about UNCG before we talked with them and they were very aware of the unrest at UNCG last spring,” Safran said.
“Yes, I do think that continued serious unrest could be a red flag to many candidates,” Safran argued, “But I will also say that UNCG is an excellent university for the types of students we serve and I believe it will be attractive to many candidates.”