UNC Board of Governors moving ahead with search for new president, releases “leadership statement”

Want to know what the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors is looking for in its next leader?

Here’s the 46-page leadership statement (scroll down to read) adopted Thursday by a board subcommittee that spells out what qualifications, qualities and values are desired for whoever replaces outgoing UNC President Tom Ross.

The statement was developed by taking input from a number of stakeholder groups, from the board itself, as well as faculty, students, alumni, business leaders and the general public.

As would be expected, there was significant variety in what different groups are looking for in the next UNC president.

According to the lengthy leadership statement, students want an energetic leader, who “values diversity and accessibility in the UNC system.”

Alumni who participated in surveys said they wanted someone who understand UNC’s roles in both “strengthening NC communities and improving their quality of life” as well as serving as the state’s economic engine.

Participants from the business community did not strongly feel about the next president having a higher education background, but did want someone who would work with the legislature and find a way to “positively deal with the changing ideology within the state.”

The leadership statement will be used by the Isaacson & Miller search firm hired by the Board of Governors to conduct the search to explain what’s expected of candidates.

From here on out, the search will largely be conducted behind closed doors, and without further input from university faculty, students, or other groups.

The money for the search comes from interest on several institutional trust funds the university has accumulated over a number of years, and is the same funding source that’s been tapped for previous presidential searches, according to Joni Worthington, a spokeswoman for the UNC system.

Joan MacNeill, the UNC Board of Governors member who is heading the search committee, said that no single funder is paying for the search, and added that the money was not coming from someone like Art Pope, the former state budget director and a prominent funder of conservative causes in the state.

The board is hoping to have their pick decided by October, but will take longer if need be, MacNeill said.

David Green, a law professor at N.C. Central University who served on the leadership statement committee, said transparency is a concern for faculty, who are already uneasy after Ross’ unexpected termination last January,

While Board of Governor member have refuted rumors that Pope could be the next UNC president, Green said there are still questions about whether the board already had a specific type of individual they’d like.

“You’ve said that you don’t have a certain person in mind, but is there a certain profile?,” Green asked, in comments to a reporter after the meeting.

When asked if there would be further explanations about what reasons led the board to dismiss Ross, MacNeill said the board of governors is looking for a fresh set of eyes to help the UNC system prepare for the rapidly-changing world of higher education.

“This is a new board,” MacNeill said, adding that the board wants someone with a “new point of view, and a new way of looking at things.”


leadership_statement_complete_2015__0.pdf by NC Policy Watch

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