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Thursday, October 1, 2009

UNCP Search Committee hears from UNC president

University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles asked the UNC Pembroke Chancellor Search Committee to find a new chancellor who will “take this University to the next level.”

Erskine Bowles“This will be the most important job you will ever do for this University,” Bowles told the 15-member panel during a special meeting on September 22. “Bring me three finalists, unranked, although I expect to know your preference.”

Bowles said he would “have no qualms” in rejecting the Board of Trustees’ recommendations and declare a failed search if necessary.

The committee and the trustees plan to make those recommendations in time for the April 2010 meeting of the UNC Board of Governors and have a new chancellor in place for the beginning of the 2010-11 fiscal year on July 1.

The Chancellor Search Committee also heard from four executive search companies and hired Witt/Kieffer of Washington, D.C., to assist in the process.

Committee Chair Dr. Freda Porter named a Public Forum Subcommittee to set dates for a series of public meetings with faculty, staff, students, alumni and the wider community.

President Bowles launched the search by giving the committee its “charge” or call to duty. The UNC president, who has viewed one dozen UNC chancellor searches, was upbeat on most counts.

Erskine Bowles

“I am amazed at the progress of this University every time I come to the campus,” he said. “I want a leader to build on the incredible work of Dr. (Allen) Meadors.

“I want a leader who will have the respect of the entire community, and someone who will respect its proud heritage,” Bowles continued. “I am looking for a leader with people skills and someone who sees this rural location as an asset.”

Retention and graduation rates are “the only area of disappointment for me,” he said. “It’s about more than getting them in the door.

“We will get a great chancellor for this University,” Bowles concluded.

After Bowles’ departure the Search Committee launched into action during a five-hour meeting, a preview of the long hours that go with this endeavor.

An audience of faculty, administrators and community people looked on, including Dr. Cheryl Locklear, a Pembroke resident and member of the UNC Board of Governors.

The Chancellor Search Committee voted unanimously to hire Witt/Kieffer and its representative joined the meeting immediately after the vote. Their contracted price will be $70,000 plus some expenses.

The search firm has broad national experience in higher education and health care and experience in North Carolina too. They recently placed new chancellors at Fayetteville State University and Winston Salem State University.

The committee also voted to conduct a “closed” search.

Dr. Porter, also chair of the Board of Trustees, named a second subcommittee to write a “position description” to be used to advertise the job nationally.

A Chancellor Search Web site was unveiled containing information about the process including meeting minutes, news and announcements. It may be found at: www.uncp.edu/chancellorsearch/.

The next meeting of the Chancellor Search Committee will be 12:30 p.m., Monday, October 5.

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