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Chancellor Search Committee begins its work

BOONE—The 21-member chancellor search committee at Appalachian State University met Aug. 27 to begin the process that will lead to the naming of the university’s next chancellor.

Committee members selected three search firms to interview, with plans to select one that will aid them in their search, and they received a tentative calendar outlining future meetings, including public forums for faculty, staff, students and others. They also heard from UNC President Tom Ross as well as vice chancellors at Appalachian regarding traits and experience they should consider when reviewing applications for the position.

“What you are about to do is the most important thing that you will ever do for this university,” Ross told committee members. “Selecting the leader of this institution at this particular time in history – I can’t express to you how very important it is to get the right person. Throughout the process, please remember that you are serving this institution in a very important way.”

Ross requested that the committee submit to him three names for consideration. He will interview the finalists and submit his recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors for approval.

Ross said that it would be hard to replace Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock but that sometimes change and transition are healthy for an institution. “If the next chancellor is going to be anywhere near as successful as Ken has been, it’s going to be important that he or she gets off to a good start,” he said.

Peacock announced in April that he would step down from the post once a successor was named.

Ross said having a search committee comprised of membership representing the campus and community “brings to the table voices of different constituency groups.”

“All of those representations are vital and will have immeasurable impact on our decision,” said Michael A. Steinback, chair Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the search committee. “But I want you also to recognize that together we represent Appalachian State University and there is nothing more powerful than the collective efforts of cooperation and teamwork in this endeavor.”

Traits and skills that Ross and others said Appalachian’s next chancellor should possess include unwavering integrity, managerial skills for both budgets and personnel, interpersonal and fundraising skills, and an understanding of the role athletics plays at a university, remembering that members of intercollegiate teams are students first.

Ross said that maintaining confidentiality of candidates applying to or recommended for the position is critical. “This institution is going to attract a lot of very, very strong people. If it is made public, you will lose some of those people,” he said.

The best candidates will be in jobs they love, he added. “You have to keep that in mind, because you want the best candidates and one of the ways you will get them is to have a confidential search because there will be people who will walk away if it becomes public.”

Steinback said that even though there is a lot of work to accomplish in a short period of time, it is important to provide opportunities for input from faculty, staff, students and others. In addition to the public forums, whose dates are to be determined, a survey is being developed to obtain input about the search from the university’s various constituents.

The search committee’s tentative timeline calls for submitting the names of the finalists to Ross in January 2014.

The website lists search committee members and will provide information about the search as it progresses.