WCU chancellor search committee drafts position description

The 16-member search committee that is helping select the next chancellor of Western Carolina University spent more than three hours Wednesday, Dec. 1, revising a detailed position description and leadership statement designed to attract highly qualified candidates to the job.

The bulk of the committee’s conversations focused on ensuring that suggestions voiced during open public forums on Nov. 22 and submitted through an online questionnaire are incorporated into the statement. The six-page document describes the university and its mission and priorities, and outlines the qualifications and expectations of WCU’s next chief executive officer.

John W. Bardo, chancellor at WCU since 1995, announced earlier this year his plans to step down from the position on July 1.

Members of the committee searching for Bardo’s successor requested that Jerry Baker, lead consultant for the Baker and Associates executive recruitment firm who wrote the initial draft, include language in the document indicating that candidates should be responsive to themes heard at public forums for faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and supporters of athletics.

Among those themes was the importance of a successful athletics program, the unique culture of Western North Carolina, the relationship between WCU and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the university’s traditional emphasis on passionate dedication to teaching and learning, the value of the contributions of staff members, and the role of the university in the community.

The committee also asked that the statement contain specific language from the Nov. 16 charge of incoming University of North Carolina president Tom Ross that the chancellor be “highly visible, collaborative and inclusive,” and include the expectation that the chancellor recognize not only traditional notions of diversity such as race and gender, but also “the diversity of thought.”

Baker is incorporating the committee’s requests and revising the position description and leadership statement, which will be posted on the search committee website – chancellorsearch.wcu.edu.

Because the committee was able to complete its work at the Dec. 1 meeting, a follow-up session scheduled for Dec. 6 was canceled.

The search process now enters a “quiet phase” as Baker and Associates begins the process of recruiting, evaluating and screening candidates.

The committee will meet again Thursday, Jan. 27, to set the format for interviews of prospective candidates, with additional meetings in February and March to narrow the list to between five and 10 candidates, followed by off-site interviews.

The goal is for the committee to complete its work and recommend its top choices to the WCU trustees so that the board can forward the names of at least three nominees to Ross, who will present his recommendation to the full UNC Board of Governors for final consideration and approval at its April 8 meeting.