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Thursday October 21st

UNC uses search firms to fill administrative positions

	<p>Barbara Entwisle is the interim vice chancellor for research.</p>
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Barbara Entwisle is the interim vice chancellor for research.

The search for the next vice chancellor for research is under way, joining several similar searches throughout the University.

The search committee charged with filling the position — now filled by Barbara Entwisle — met Monday to revise the position’s leadership statement, set dates for future interviews and consult with the firm conducting the search.

Entwisle has served in the role on an interim basis since Aug. 1, taking over for Tony Waldrop, who left the University to become provost at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

No candidates have been announced. The committee approved an advertisement Friday to be placed on career search sites and the University website.

“I’d like to send applicants to a University search site so they have access to more information than they would from just the position site,” said Jean Dowdall, senior vice president of Witt/Kieffer, the executive search firm consulted for the process.

Dowdall was present at the meeting via conference call.

Interested applicants can request a full leadership statement, which gives not only an overview of the University but also enrollment statistics and recent research progress.

This year, UNC announced research funding of more than $800 million — the largest in University history — in spite of nationwide economic troubles.

Committee members said they plan to have a list of eight to 10 potential candidates by late January. The position should be filled by the middle of March, they said.

The University is also in the midst of searches to find a new dean of the School of Dentistry, an associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs and a dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Officials have said they want to fill the positions by the start of the 2011-12 school year.

Recent searches for high-profile positions have often been filled by individuals already at UNC despite national searches, including Chancellor Holden Thorp, Karen Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost.

The University was criticized after the hiring of Carney for a lack of diversity in hirings for major administrative positions.

At the meeting on Monday, Ann Penn, the University’s equal opportunity officer, stressed treating applicants consistently and encouraging diversity.

“Whenever a major university has to fill such a high position, they consider a search firm,” Gil said.

“A firm could provide us with important contacts,” she said. “Sometimes people in positions already will not be actively looking for other positions.”

The University used Witt/Kieffer to assist in the hiring of Gil to her current position — she was formerly chairwoman of the psychology department — and has used other search firms in the past, most recently during the hiring of Carney.

Ron Strauss, executive associate provost, said that working with a firm for this position was especially important because of the widespread qualifications applicants can have.

“When you look for a dean for the journalism school, you can contact other journalism schools, and there are relatively few,” Strauss said. “But how do you find all candidates in such a large field as research?

“Search firms have made it their business to find great candidates, and they’re very hands-on.”

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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