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Chancellor Search Committee at Appalachian Begins Its Work

072503search_dl.jpgBOONE–The search for Appalachian State University’s sixth chancellor has begun.

The 16-member chancellor search committee comprised of faculty, alumni, trustees, student, staff and community representatives met July 24 to begin what has been called one of the most critical activities affecting the university’s immediate and long-term future.

Members are charged with recommending candidates to succeed former chancellor Frank Borkowski who stepped down from the post in June.

Robert Fox Jr., a member of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and chair of the committee, spoke of the importance of their work. “When you think of Appalachian State University’s 104 years, we’ve only had five chancellors,” he said. “This is not a task we do every day. It is a very important task.”

The search is the 13th chancellor search within the UNC system since President Molly C. Broad took office.

“I think we will have a lot of individuals across the country who will be nominated or who will apply or have an interest in this position,” Broad said.

“I assure you we want candidates in the pool who are not necessarily reading the Chronicle of Higher Education ads every week,” she said. “We want people who are doing a superlative job where they are and who love what they are doing. We need to bait a hook and get them interested in thinking about Appalachian as a possibility.”

An executive search firm will be hired to assist with the process. Such firms have been used in all of the chancellor searches conducted in the UNC system since 1997.

The search firm can help identify candidates who might not be identified through the traditional route of placing ads in higher education publications, Broad said.

A search firm also can help “lift up all the rocks” as a candidate’s background is being checked, she said.

“Searches for university chancellors and presidents have become extraordinarily complicated in the last decade,” Broad said. Universities don’t do succession planning in higher education, a common practice in the business world, she explained. “We go through this process in which you start out with a clean sheet of paper, and there is no heir apparent, there is no one designated to be the logical successor.”

In charging the committee with its task, Broad explained the various components of the process. The committee must follow the code of the university system as well as the state’s general statutes regulating open meetings, public records and personnel issues.

Broad told the group that one of their hardest tasks would be to balance the public’s right to know with the committee’s right to engage in confidential discussion. “The balancing of those two important legal and ethical principles is the important part of the success of a search committee.”

As committee chair, Fox should be the sole spokesperson for the group, Broad said.

She also asked the committee to recommend at least three candidates for chancellor. Broad will select the final candidate and nominate that person to the UNC Board of Governors for approval.

“The selection and the appointment of the leader really help define what the university is going to be like in the future,” Broad said. “It sets the path, the course and the direction. You embark upon a truly important mission.”

The chancellor search committee will meet by conference call Aug. 11 to consider proposals from executive search firms. They will interview representatives from at least two firms and begin developing a leadership statement Aug. 18 regarding the abilities, skills and attributes the successful candidate should possess.

Open forums for the university community to express views regarding the next chancellor will be held in September on dates yet to be determined.

Members of the chancellor search committee are trustees Fox, James D. Branch, James M. Deal Jr., and Reba S. Moretz; faculty members Nancy Schneeloch-Bingham, Randy K. Edwards, Paul H. Gates Jr. and Dru A. Henson; alumni representatives Ryan L. Bolick, Jeannine Underdown Collins, Jamie E. Harris and Mark E. Trivette; student representative Rachel A. Johnson; and staff representative Terri L. Miller.

Former trustee Brent B. Kincaid will represent the community at large.

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Picture Caption: UNC System President Molly C. Broad addresses members of the chancellor search committee at Appalachian State University. (Appalachian photo by Jane Nicholson)