The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Faculty Senate and the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors are opposing a change to how chancellors are selected for UNC System schools.
As Policy Watch reported in July, new UNC System President Peter Hans has proposed changes that would allow the system president to insert final candidates into search processes that traditionally happened at the Board of Trustees level.
Under the current system, an individual school’s board of trustees conducts an independent search and forwards at least two finalists to the UNC System President. The president chooses a final candidate to submit to a final vote by the UNC Board of Governors.
Hans’s proposed change would allow the UNC System president to add up to two candidates to search process. Those candidates would go through the same interviews as other candidates, but would automatically move forward as part of a slate of finalists for the position.
In effect, the president would have the power to insert finalists into the search process without approval from the board of trustees. The president would then choose a final candidate from a slate that, in part, he or she already had chosen.
The UNC Board of Governors is expected to vote on the change at its regular meeting Thursday.
“These proposed changes will undermine the integrity of these important searches,” the UNCG chapter of the AAUP wrote in a statement on the issue. “First, the changes will discourage high quality candidates of national and international standing from entering a search when the results can be easily overridden. Second, citizens of integrity will not serve the many hours required by these important searches if their efforts can be ignored. Finally, the substantial costs paid by the taxpayers of North Carolina to hire executive recruiting firms will be for naught if the President of the UNC system can determine the result of any chancellor search.”
“The UNCG Faculty Senate has voted unanimously in opposition to this proposal, and the UNCG Chapter of AAUP joins our Senate in unanimous opposition to this proposal,” the chapter wrote in its statement. “We call upon our campus leaders to fight this proposal: Chancellor Frank Gilliam, Provost James Coleman, the deans of our respective schools, and our Board of Trustees. We are dismayed by this proposal as we know you must be, and you have our support to publicly oppose this policy change. UNCG faculty and students will fight for shared governance and stand with you when you stand with us in opposition to this policy change.”
Faculty at East Carolina University has also condemned the proposed changes, as has Higher Ed Works, one of the state’s leading higher education non-profits.