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Members of UNC chancellor search committee to be named in early February

Photos courtesy of Grace Richards and Kennedy Cox

UNC System President Peter Hans says the search committee for a permanent UNC chancellor will be finalized early this month — though he has named a number of members already.

The University's webpage about chancellor search committees began touting a message Monday saying, "Members of the search committee will be announced at a later date."

Among the 13 committee members, four will have a UNC System-level perspective. This group will include the following members: Hans or his designee, Board of Governors Chair Randall Ramsey or his designee, Chair of the Committee on University Governance Kellie Hunt Blue and a current or former chancellor in the UNC System.

The other nine members will represent UNC's faculty, student body, staff and alumni. Hans said these members will include Faculty Chair Beth Moracco, Employee Forum Chair Katie Musgrove and Student Body President Christopher Everett.

Hans said an alumni leader, three trustees on the Board of Trustees and two other individuals will be selected for the committee.

The committee will then hire a national search firm to assist in the candidate selection process and organize listening forums, where students, faculty, staff and community members can offer feedback on the search process.

According to UNC Media Relations, the University prioritizes strategic senior executive searches, including chancellor searches, by setting aside funds to budget for the process, including hiring the search firm.

Nate Knuffman, the vice chancellor for Finance and Operations, will work with Hans and the chair of the search committee to finalize the search budget once the committee has been selected and announced.

They are still in the early stages of this process, which will take the majority of a year.

The committee will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees, which will vote on candidates to recommend to Hans. Hans will then recommend a candidate to the BOG, which will vote on the permanent chancellor.

Once the committee is selected and the application process begins, Hans said he anticipates a deep pool of individuals across campus and the country with interest in becoming the University’s permanent chancellor.

“I’ve had several sitting presidents from across the country reach out to me about their interest in Chapel Hill,” he said. “Of course, I’m encouraging any and all clearly qualified individuals when we actually open up the application process to be part of the pool.”

Hans and Moracco — who will serve as a faculty representative — said diversity will be a priority for the group, both in choosing its own members and in candidate selection.

“I’ve had many patriots step forward who are willing to serve, and it’s been interesting because I’d say there are about 50 and without exception, all white males,” Hans said. “It’s been a fascinating sociological experiment for me because it draws attention to this point that sometimes you’ve got to be very intentional about the picks, not just who raises their hand.”

Moracco said that inclusion and equity among the search committee are paramount and will lead to more innovation and broader thinking.

“[The faculty] try to do that in all aspects of our work, and that would include the search for chancellor,” Moracco said. “I think we will have a better outcome if we’re not all thinking the same way and coming from the same lived experiences.”

She also said there have been concerns among faculty about overreach and interference into domains that are traditionally faculty-driven. 

“I know also a priority of the faculty is really shared governance and recognizing the expertise and the role of faculty in terms of curriculum development and our role working with students, research and all the different things that we do,” Moracco said.

Though the 2019 chancellor search committee, which resulted in the election of former Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, included the then-president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, Graduate and Professional Student Government President Lauren Hawkinson said she was told this year's committee might not include a representative of the graduate student body.

“[Graduate students] fill so many different roles on campus — we’re employees and students at the same time,” Hawkinson said. “I think that gives us a unique perspective.”

Hawkinson read a letter at the Jan. 18 BOT meeting requesting one graduate and one undergraduate student representative on the search committee. However, she said she is not optimistic that graduate students will be adequately represented, but she said that Hans said he will hold listening forums intended for graduate students.

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“I think he should expect us to hold him accountable to that and make sure that there are adequate amounts of listening sessions,” Hawkinson said.


@dailytarheel |

Ashley Quincin

Ashley Quincin is a 2023-24 assistant university desk editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a university staff writer. Ashley is a senior pursuing a degree in English and comparative literature, with a double minor in media and journalism and composition, rhetoric and digital literacy.

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