Events set for April 8, 11 to introduce new chancellor

Announcement of the next person to serve as chancellor at Western Carolina University is expected to be on the agenda when the University of North Carolina Board of Governors meets Friday, April 8, in Chapel Hill, and plans are under way for two public events to help introduce WCU’s 11th chief executive officer to the campus and surrounding community.

Friday morning’s anticipated announcement is scheduled to be broadcast live, via Internet video streaming, onto large screens in the conference center of WCU’s Blue Ridge Residence Hall. The Board of Governors meeting begins at 9 a.m., and the approximate time for the chancellor announcement should be about 10:30 or 11 a.m. The conference center will be open to the public at 9 a.m., when the board meeting begins.

The announcement also will be broadcast on Channel 62, WCU’s closed-circuit television station.

The university will host a public welcome for the new chancellor at 3 p.m. Monday, April 11, in the performance hall of WCU’s Fine and Performing Arts Center. The event is scheduled to include introductory remarks from Steve Warren, chair of the chancellor search committee, and comments from WCU’s next leader. A reception will follow in the Star Lobby of FAPAC.

A 16-member search committee has been working since late October to help identify a successor for John W. Bardo. Chancellor at WCU since March 1995, Bardo announced last fall his plans to step down from the position this summer.

After interviewing a number of top candidates March 4-5 in Atlanta, the search committee provided a list of finalists to the WCU Board of Trustees for consideration.

The process also included visits to campus by all of the finalists before the slate of candidates was forwarded to the trustees, said Warren, who also is chair of the WCU Board of Trustees.

“Each of the final candidates spent a day on campus, and during that time interacted with faculty, staff, students and community members,” he said. “Representatives of each of those constituent groups were asked to candidly, and confidentially, submit their evaluations of each of the candidates. This was an essential and critical component of the search process.”

That process began Oct. 29, when the Board of Trustees appointed a search committee with membership drawn from WCU faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and community members. Throughout the process, the committee has worked with Jerry Baker of Baker and Associates, a national executive search firm with offices in Winston-Salem and Atlanta, and with Ann Lemmon, associate vice president for human resources for the UNC system.

At the committee’s initial meeting on Nov. 16, members received their official charge from Tom Ross, UNC system president, who provided the group with a long list of the characteristics and qualifications he would like to see in WCU’s next chancellor.

The committee scheduled a series of open forums designed to solicit public input in the process. Members spent four hours listening Nov. 22 as faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and fans of intercollegiate athletics shared their thoughts about the university’s next chancellor and the future direction of WCU.

Committee members used what they learned during those sessions and from responses to an online questionnaire to develop a detailed position description and leadership statement designed to attract highly qualified candidates to the job. Those documents were finalized in December.

From a large number of applicants and nominees collected by Baker and Associates, the committee identified a pool of candidates for further consideration and examined extensive biographical information about each of the candidates. The committee gathered Feb. 15 to narrow the pool to those candidates who were invited to participate in the off-campus interviews in Atlanta.

The WCU board, during a special meeting Tuesday, March 15, agreed on a list of at least three finalists that was forwarded to Ross, who is expected to make his recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors for final approval on Friday.

For more information, visit the search committee website at http://chancellorsearch.wcu.edu (link no longer active).