The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

After five new chancellors in seven months, Board of Governors reviews selection process

The UNC system has appointed five new chancellors in seven months — and on Thursday the UNC Board of Governors questioned the communication, or lack thereof, involved in the chancellor selection process.

Winston-Salem State University, Elizabeth City State University, UNC-Asheville, N.C. School of the Arts and Appalachian State University have appointed new chancellors in 2014.

And Ann Lemmon, secretary of the UNC system, said the system has endured 23 chancellor searches in the last 10 years.

“I think we all want the same thing,” said Joan MacNeill, chairwoman of the university governance committee. “We are looking to find the absolute best chancellors to face the challenges in the UNC system going forward.”

She said under the current process, a university’s board of trustees recommends three candidates to UNC system President Tom Ross. Ross then nominates a candidate to the board, who votes to approve the candidate.

Board member Frank Grainger said the vote often feels rushed, and the only information provided on the candidate is presented by Ross in the 15 to 30 minutes prior to the vote.

“It’s already a done deal before it gets to us,” he said.

Lemmon said search committees are also created as subsets of the boards of trustees and are comprised of about 18 members — nearly one-third of which are trustees.

Board members agreed that more dialogue between search committees and the board is necessary, and and Board member W.G. "Champ" Mitchell suggested expanding the role of campus liaisons to provide that communication.

Board of trustees members from multiple schools at the meeting echoed his sentiment.

Later that afternoon, three N.C. House representatives joined the public affairs committee for a panel discussion about higher education priorities in the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, encouraged the board’s increased involvement in the chancellor selection process.

Rep. John Bell, R-Craven, and Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland also said communication between the board and the legislature should improve.

“We see this board as partners,” Moore said.

He said interactions between K-12 education and the university system is lacking and the General Assembly is eager to partner with the board on improving that communication as well.

Board member Ann Goodnight said they are already working with the deans of education from UNC-system universities to strengthen the partnership with public schools.

“The general feeling is, let’s work together to build something for the state,” said William Sederburg, interim chancellor for UNC-Wilmington.

state@dailytarheel.com

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