By Emily Bruzzo, News Editor
Published in print Feb. 11, 2015
The search committee for UNC-Greensboro’s next chancellor has mapped out some viable plans, but last Thursday, committee members discovered they’ve hit a few roadblocks with the details.
An official advertisement for UNCG’s next chancellor has been placed in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The committee decided in January that it would support an “extended confidential” search in which small groups representing UNCG’s various constituencies would be invited to meet with the 5-6 semi-finalists, permitting that group members agree to sign non-disclosure forms.
And the committee has also begun to write UNCG’s leadership statement, which is a more elaborate job description.
With all the successfully made decisions, there are still a few things on which the committee just can’t seem to agree yet.
Committee members aren’t sure who will get to join the constituency groups, how many people will make up the groups, where the small groups will meet with the semi-finalists and what the groups and candidates will even discuss.
The search committee’s consultant, Bill Funk, who was phoning in from his office in Dallas, Texas, explained that it is customary in more open searches for each small group to meet privately with the semi-finalists.
He said the candidates are usually allowed to provide their background information and to explain why they’re interested in the university.
The groups are then given the opportunity to ask the candidates questions afterwards.
Many members agree that allowing constituency groups to meet with the semi-finalists will help the search committee narrow down the pool to the final three.
Charles Maimone, an administration representative, warned, “Often I think we…slip into the idea that we’re selecting the next chancellor, when, in fact, what we’re doing is finding three viable candidates. So, whoever participates has to understand that, that’s the charge.”
Wade Maki, a faculty representative who has served on search committees in the past, said about the importance of constituency group feedback, “It validates what we are thinking internally…and on occasion someone picks up on something that you miss.”
Though the committee voted unanimously to permit the “extended confidential” search, some members are still hesitant to embrace the idea.
With recent disclosures of candidate names from chancellor search committees at UNC-Wilmington and Winston-Salem State University, some UNCG committee members are paranoid about the potential threat constituency groups pose to the confidentiality of the search.
In addition to fears about leaks, some members are confused by the need for further community involvement when there’s a committee of 24 people— a size considered quite large for a chancellor search.
Jeff Collins, an alumni representative, asked, “Why wouldn’t people already feel they have a voice and a representative on the search committee?”
“Who are we going to include in this expanded confidentiality group,” he continued, “that hasn’t already had an opportunity and a forum presented to them to participate and provide feedback?”
Anne Wallace, a faculty representative, responded, “I think showing to the candidates who we are is a reason to do these groups.”
Omar Ali, another faculty representative, argued from the side of shared governance, saying, “Everybody on campus should feel like they have some kind of representative who has access.”
“I think what’s important about why we’re doing this,” he continued, “is also for the next chancellor to have a relationship…it’s as much for us to get information, but also to set up our next chancellor as best as possible.”
Still, some committee members argue that campus constituents have had numerous open forums and that there are online feedback forms on the chancellor search webpage.
Wallace retorted, “There’s a great difference between that and knowing a reasonably large group of people—extra ears and eyes— are going to have contact with finalists.”
The search committee was not able to reach a compromise on the details and logistics of the constituency groups.
A subcommittee, headed by administration representative, Celia Hooper, will review the minutes of the meeting, take additional feedback from committee members and research possible plans to offer the overarching committee.
The details of the constituency groups will be voted on soon.
The committee’s next open meeting will be held in March.
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