On Oct. 29, the search committee for the next chancellor of UNC Charlotte held the last of its five listening sessions. Students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members gathered to share their visions of UNC Charlotte’s 5th chancellor.
The sessions are the third step in the search committee’s task of replacing Chancellor Philip Dubois. Dubois announced his retirement on July 30, 2019 from his tenure as the longest serving chancellor in the UNC system.
The search committee includes 16 representatives, seven of who currently serve on the institution’s Board of Trustees, the highest governing body of the institution. The group is chaired by Mike Wilson (93), who also serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees.
“We feel pressure to do this right; to do this once and to find the right man or woman,” Wilson said at the final listening session.
Wilson added that the search committee is deviating from the standard of only searching within academia. “Now they’re looking for people from academia, business, government and military,” he said.
As the second step in their search process, the committee hired Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates as an outside consulting firm to find and recruit candidates. Tom Fitch, a partner with the company, facilitated the listening sessions. He focused on several questions, asking about the key challenges and opportunities facing the University, ideal characteristics in a chancellor, and what should be prioritized under the next administration.
Attendees listed a myriad of concerns, ideas and praises for the next chancellor to keep in mind.
Some emphasized the importance of a chancellor who promotes diversity and equity. “There should be someone on their cabinet who can still address the gaps at the University and will challenge the larger system as well to make sure it’s fair and equitable for all our students,” one attendee said.
Many attendees agreed that one of the biggest challenges for the next chancellor will be encouraging expansion and growth while still retaining a unique UNC Charlotte identity. However, the crowd all offered varying advice on how to accomplish this. One alumnus said the chancellor should support dropping the “UNC” from the University’s name; another said we should be more involved in municipal affairs and another stated, “We should be part of the city’s growth, but we can’t erase any identities of the city.”
When asked about important attributes of the new chancellor, attendees said “open-minded, approachable, inclusive, a teacher first, and a visionary,” among other characteristics.
One student in attendance, Maggie Murphy, said “I prefer that my chancellor wasn’t a war criminal,” in a clear reference to associate vice chancellor of safety and security John Bogdan’s past at Guantanamo Bay.
Murphy wasn’t the first to bring up allegations against Bogdan at one of these listening sessions. At an earlier session, a student said the next chancellor should fire Bogdan, and another stated, “I would like to know how someone like this was hired and who was complicit in hiring him.”
Murphy told the Niner Times “[The listening session] went as well as I could have hoped.”
Once the Search Committee identifies ideal candidates, they will submit those to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees who will then vote on three candidates to recommend to UNC System Interim President Bill Roper.
Upon receiving the nominees, Roper will conduct extensive background checks and interviews to identify one final candidate to submit to the Board of Governors or send the process back to the Board of Trustees for further consideration.
The Board of Governors will review the candidate and the terms of appointment to office and vote to elect or deny the nominee to the position of chancellor, thus eventually approving the next chancellor of UNC Charlotte.