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The Daily Tar Heel

How does UNC's chancellor search process work?

The South Building, Office of the Chancellor and other administrative offices, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

Following the departure of former Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, the UNC System Office will soon begin its search for the 13th person to hold the position while former member of the UNC Board of Governors Lee Roberts serves as interim chancellor.

The Board of GovernorsPolicy on Chancellor Searches and Elections mandates that a search advisory committee be created with representation from the Board of Trustees, BOG, student body, faculty, staff and alumni in addition to a current or former chancellor of another school in the UNC System. 

In an email to The Daily Tar Heel, UNC Media Relations said the members of the search committee have not yet been named. 

Members of the committee, as well as the chair of the committee, are selected by UNC System President Peter Hans in partnership with BOT Chair John Preyer. The policy allows the chair of the BOT to serve as chair of the committee, and Hans will serve as an ex officio member. In 2019, during the most recent chancellor search, Richard Stevens, the chair of the BOT at the time, served as the search advisory committee’s chair.

In May 2023, the BOG adopted an updated version of the policy, reducing the number of voting members on committee from 20 to 13. The previous policy excluded members of the BOG from the committee, while this new adaptation includes Randy Ramsey, chair of the BOG, and an additional member from the BOG.

Candidates chosen by the committee are considered by the BOT, which then proposes a slate of finalists to the system president. The president then interviews these finalists before selecting a chancellor-elect to be voted on by the BOG. 

According to North Carolina state law, the search for a new chancellor must be kept confidential and the candidates will not be named until a chancellor is selected. 

Though there is no defined length of a chancellor search, the process of finding the UNC's 12th chancellor stretched from August to December of 2019 before the selection of Kevin Guskiewicz, who had been acting as interim chancellor since February of that year. 

Several groups have voiced values they want the search committee to prioritize during this process. Both the Coalition for Carolina and the Affirmative Action Coalition at UNC have expressed concerns on social media regarding political interference at the University from the BOT and the BOG. The groups noted Roberts’ past political experience as budget director for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. 

Beyond concerns with the interim chancellor, the Affirmative Action Coalition also referenced issues facing UNC that a new chancellor should focus on in an Instagram post, including affordable wages for staff, campus accessibility, affordable housing and the ability to recruit and retain faculty of color. 

In the last chancellor search, the University created a website dedicated to the process, including sections with desired leadership qualities in a candidate, a schedule of public meetings and an online feedback form to accept opinions on the search. 

In the meantime, Roberts will assume the role of interim chancellor at the University. In a campus-wide email sent out on Friday, he asked members of the UNC community to tell him what they want to see changed.

“Like all of you, I’m here to learn, contribute and do my best to leave this University stronger than when I arrived,” he said.


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