University’s chancellor search process resumes; committee to meet Sept. 21

The search for Western Carolina University’s next chancellor will officially resume Friday, Sept. 21, as the committee tasked with helping select a successor to the late David O. Belcher will hold its first meeting since the July 16 announcement that a finalist for the position had withdrawn from consideration.

That was the word from Patricia B. Kaemmerling, chair of the WCU Board of Trustees and co-chair of the chancellor search committee, who shared an update about the search process during the trustees’ quarterly meeting Friday, Sept. 7.

Kaemmerling told the trustees that the University of North Carolina Board of Governors is expected to unveil a draft of the UNC System’s new process for chancellor searches later this fall. The proposed new chancellor search process will be open for review for about 30 days, with a final version expected to be adopted by the Board of Governors following that review.

“Although the new process won’t be in place, we have been advised that we can resume our search,” Kaemmerling said. “We will be proceeding with the same search committee that we already have in place, as this is simply an extension of the search process that began last year.”

The committee meeting is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 21 in the Multipurpose Room of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Once the UNC System’s final search process is in place, the WCU search committee will make any adjustments needed as it goes forward with its work, she said. The committee again will be assisted by the executive search firm Buffkin Baker.

In the meantime, a transition team that is being led by Robert C. Roberts, a member of the WCU Board of Trustees, has been formed to assist in the process of onboarding a new chancellor and to provide support to Interim Chancellor Alison Morrison-Shetlar during the months ahead as she continues to lead WCU.

WCU’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, Morrison-Shetlar accepted the role of acting (now interim) CEO of the university when Belcher went on medical leave at the end of 2017. Belcher, who had been battling brain cancer since April 2016, died June 17. Carol Burton, WCU associate provost for undergraduate studies, is serving as acting provost.