Update on the UNC system’s quest for a new president


Lauren Cherry
   Staff Writer

On May 29 the UNC Board of Governors selected Isaacson, Miller as the firm to conduct a nationwide search to fill the position for the UNC system’s next president.

This is the same firm that Duke University chose to search for their provost and chancellor for the Medical Center. According to the official president-search website, there are three committees involved in the selection process: the Search Committee, the Leaderships Statement Committee and the Screening Committee.

The Search Committee is responsible for organizing the entire process, such as developing a search plan and budget, recommending search firms and coming up with the president’s compensation and benefits package. The Leadership Statement Committee takes feedback from the public and develops leadership qualities to aid in the process of the candidate search.

The Screening Committee screens the applicant pool against the established leadership qualities in order to recommend candidates back to the Search Committee for further screening.

Over the summer, various UNC system schools have hosted regional input sessions as a way for the community to voice their concerns to the President Search Committee.

Currently, only UNC-Asheville, Eastern Carolina University, NC Central University and most recently UNC-Charlotte on June 1 have hosted these input sessions.

In addition to attending open forums, community members are encouraged to text or e-mail in comments.

At all of the forums, attendees agreed on several characteristics regarding the future president of the UNC system.

At UNC-Asheville, the community wanted a minimization of partisan politics in the selection process as well as a candidate with deep North Carolinian roots. Tom Byers, an Asheville resident and former employee pointed out that in over four decades of UNC system presidents four out of five have been known for their close roots in North Carolina—an attribute he thinks is a positive one.

“I would suggest that it is desirable for the individual to address a philosophy of promotion from within,” Byers said, “That is providing opportunities for fellow North Carolinians to rise within our wonderful university system.” A man who identified as “Wilson,” a recent UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, agreed with Byers saying that a history of service and North Carolina experience is vital.

He also said that in addition to not having a politicized selection process, he suggested that the Board of Governors highlight the ways in which their vision differs from current UNC-system President Tom Ross. “I understand that was the reason for asking President Ross to step down,” he added. Wilson also emphasized the importance of UNC’s role in educating teachers.

He said that many of his favorite high school teachers were products of the UNC school system.

“The system educates our teachers and it needs to keep doing a good job of that because that’s what prepares students for a university education,” he adds, “I was disappointed to see a lot of the degree programs that are affiliated with teaching go, but I understand that in many ways that was an attempt to take out redundancies.”

On the subject of redundancies Wilson stated that the presidential candidates should be focused on reducing administrative positions where necessary.

Applicant screening began in July and will continue throughout August until the start of interviews in September.

Categories: lauren cherry, News, North Carolina

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