BOG Approves Giving President More Say in Chancellor Choices

The UNC System Board of Governors on Thursday approved a change to how chancellors are chosen that will give the system president stronger input.

The president will be able to designate two candidates of his or her choosing, one of whom would be an automatic finalist in campus search committee interviews.

The policy also encourages the president to develop potential candidates from within the system who are residents of the state.

Under the previous policy, the board of trustees of each campus forwarded at least two candidates to the system president, who then nominated one of them to the Board of Governors.

“If a system president can do one thing really, really well, it’s to pick the right chancellors,” President Peter Hans ’91, said when the proposed change was introduced in August. In his 12 years as a member of the Board of Governors, he said, “I saw many examples of campus search committees that did their job really, really well and others that didn’t work out as well as we would hope.” In some cases, Hans said, the trustees accepted candidates they were not excited about because of “a failed search.”

Of the provision to develop candidates from within the system, Hans added, “It’s a chance to recruit some stars possibly from nontraditional backgrounds who might lend themselves well to a higher education environment.”

Faculty at several campuses have said the change puts too much power in the president’s hands. Some members of the board compared it to private business practices in which the person at the top makes such decisions.

BOG member Marty Kotis ’91 said in August: “I can’t imagine a scenario in which the president can’t pick his own direct reports. This is a great step in the right direction.” Chancellors in the system report to the system president, not to their institutions’ trustees.

Prior to the 20-4 vote to approve the change, board members expressed concern that it could weaken the pool of applicants for chancellor positions who knew they were not one of the president’s choices. Others said it was not appropriate to usurp the power of local search committees and boards of trustees in the chancellor selection process.

The new policy states that Hans, in consultation with officers of the board, “shall undertake reasonable efforts to develop potential chancellor candidates within the University of North Carolina and shall ensure that opportunities for chancellor vacancies are promoted in a manner that encourages interest from well-qualified candidates who are current residents of the State of North Carolina.”

Currently there are pending chancellor searches at East Carolina and Fayetteville State universities, which are not affected by the new policy.


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