The UNC Board of Governors hopes to have a new president announced this September.
Joan MacNeill, the chairwoman of the presidential search committee acknowledged in a meeting Monday that keeping to the timeline would be tough.
The board needs to select a head-hunting firm to conduct the search, hold public forums around the state for input about the skills and qualities the next leader of the UNC system should have and then weed through what are expected to be a substantial number of applicants.
“I acknowledge that this is ambitious,” said MacNeill. “It may not work, but we’re going to try for it.”
The presidential search committee met Monday on the campus of N.C. A&T, in Greensboro. Committee members discussed the timeline, and heard an overview about the executive search industry from Al McAulay, a Charlotte-based recruiter.
McAulay is a personal friend of John Fennebresque, the chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, and was not paid for his presentation.
McAuley said the board will have a choice between going with large executive search firms or smaller operations. They should also expect to pay whatever firm they select about a third of the new president’s new salary, as well as any direct costs incurred by the firm during the search firm.
The board of governors hopes to reach out to several search firms in coming days to request bids on conducting the presidential search.
At Monday’s meeting, board members expressed interest in looking for candidates outside of academics, starting by looking at search firms who aren’t primarily focused on finding academic leaders.
“We should see what some of the outsiders say as well,” said Frank Grainger, a member of the UNC Board of Governors.
The need for a new leader of the 17-campus system came after the UNC Board of Governors pushed out its current president, Tom Ross, in January.
Ross, a former Davidson College president and judge, will stay on the job through at least January 2016. Reasons for Ross’ ouster haven’t been fully explained by the legislatively-appointed board, though public speculation has rested on political motives.
Ross was hired in 2010, when the board consisted of appointees of what was then a Democrat-led state legislature. The current board is now made up entirely of appointees selected by a legislature in Republican control.