Amid the search for a new chancellor, students and faculty at N.C. State University say they want someone who is accessible and emphasizes integrity.
The school has been searching for a new leader after former chancellor James Oblinger’s resignation in June.
The search is drawing scrutiny because of the nature of Oblinger’s resignation — he left amid questions about his involvement in the controversial hiring of former N.C. first lady Mary Easley.
The scandal over Easley’s hiring came after criticism of her high salary and also implicated former Provost Larry Nielsen and Board of Trustees Chairman McQueen Campbell.
Jim Woodward, a former chancellor of UNC-Charlotte, stepped in as interim chancellor after Oblinger’s resignation.
The scandal has shaped what students, staff and faculty want in a new chancellor and prompted great interest in the search process.
Student Body President Jim Ceresnak, the undergraduates’ representative on the committee, said students are determined to move past the university’s scandals.
“We want someone who is going to bring us to the next level with that certain level of integrity.”
At an open forum on Aug. 26 to discuss students’ and employees’ priorities, undergraduates emphasized their desire for greater accessibility, integrity and visibility, Ceresnak said.
“The student turnout was tremendous,” Ceresnak said.
“I think if nothing else the whole situation has generated a new enthusiasm on campus — to bring a terrific candidate to a new light to the university.”
Graduate students also stressed visibility and accessibility, along with an emphasis on research opportunities, said Ali Kefeli, the graduate student representative on the search committee.
“In a nutshell, we want someone who is with us, understands our future and is accessible,” he said.
Staff said integrity, honesty and transparency were also essential to them, said Steve Carlton, staff senate chairman and the staff representative on the committee.
Woodward, hired only as interim chancellor, will not be considered for the position, Kefeli said.
The search committee is made up of 19 members who were approved by NCSU’s Board of Trustees, which is working with Baker and Associates LLC., a search firm based in Atlanta.
The committee also includes faculty and board of trustees representatives. The discussions will remain confidential, similar to UNC-Chapel Hill’s search for a chancellor in 2008.
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