COVID-19, Education, Higher Ed, News

Delayed by COVID-19 pandemic, search for UNC System president continues

The UNC System Presidential Search Committee continued its work in conference call meeting Monday afternoon, despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During these challenging times we are continuing to make progress in our search for the next leader of our great system,” said UNC Board of Governors member Wendy Murphy, co-chair of the committee.

The committee had hoped to be interviewing candidates by now. Instead, they are still accepting applications and advertising for the position.

UNC System Interim President Bill Roper.

So far, there are 36 applicants from across the U.S. and several from other countries, according to a report from search director Kim Strach. The selection process is confidential and none of the candidates are being identified publicly. After a brief report from Strach at Monday’s meeting, the committee met in closed session.

As Policy Watch reported last month, UNC System Interim President Bill Roper will stay in the position until the search is concluded. Roper was scheduled to leave at the end of June. The timeline for his replacement is now unclear and depends on progress on slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Roper has been serving as interim president since November 2018. Before that, he was CEO of UNC Health Care for 14 years and dean of the public health school at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As interim president he now makes $775,000 per year, with a $77,500 annual retirement contribution and the possibility of up to $125,000 in an annual performance bonus.

“I’m honored to serve and we’ll see how this plays out,” Roper said after last month’s board of governors meeting. “It’s an uncertain time in many respects.”

In the meantime, Roper is leading the system office through the pandemic, which has led to students at all 17 UNC system schools moving to online-only education and concerns about a coming financial crisis. Roper has announced that the system is planning students’ return to campus for the Fall semester.

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