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Chancellor committee to pursue silent search
(July 13, 2000) — The Chancellor Search Committee is getting plenty of inquiries about the opening in the top leadership position at ECU, but don't expect to hear who applies or even meet the candidates when the selection process begins in earnest.
With only two opposing votes, the committee approved a code of ethics that calls for strict confidentiality to those who apply for the position.
Janet Greenwood, a representative of the A. T. Kearney Executive Search firm, told the search committee on July 13 that unless the interviews and conversations with candidates were kept confidential, many top prospects would not apply. "The issue of a 'code of ethics' (to maintain confidentiality in the search) is critical to a sensitive group who are current presidents and chancellors," she said.
Greenwood said that many potential prospects would not be willing to become involved especially if their interest in the ECU post could cause problems for them with their own boards of trustees or directors.
"Your candidate pool who are chancellors or presidents will expect a closed process," she said. Cynthia Bonner, an Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Resources in the UNC General Administration, told the committee that recent searches for chancellors at NC State and UNC-Chapel were confidential. She said most campuses involve only committee members with the candidates. Phil Dixon, the committee's chair, urged passage of the "code of ethics."
"Our constituency has to trust us as their representatives," he said. "We wouldn't want to limit ourselves."
Robert Morrison of the Faculty Senate, opposed the idea. He said he would like to see four or five candidates come to campus for group meetings and interviews. Morrison and Trustee Charles Franklin were the only two committee members opposing the confidential search.
Greenwood told the members that a dozen inquiries have been made to her firm about the position. She said that some of those inquiries came from people who are already in the top position at their institutions.
The search will involve "suspects," candidates and prospects, Greenwood said. Every president or vice president could be a suspect. She said executive sessions will review the suspects and decides those who are candidates.
The goal, she said, is to find 10 top prospects that the committee members are happy with. The members also discussed how to keep the "family" informed about the search. They agreed that the secretary should draft materials for "press releases" with advanced copies to committee members. Commenting on favorable qualities for a chancellor, members expressed these ideas: The chancellor needs to establish ECU's presence in the arena east of I-95. Accept that ECU is the driving force in the region.
The chancellor must be a member, player and leader. Continue the academic integrity that exist. Be blessed with leadership, vision and passion. We need more than an administrator. We need someone willing to take big steps. Accept that we can improve academic excellence and enrollment at the same time. Be a cultural leader. Be a salesman in the community.
The 15-member committee is composed of members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and ECU alumni. Buddy Daniel of Lynchburg, Va. was introduced as a new member, replacing BB&T President Kelly King who had advised the committee that his professional duties would make it difficult for him to attend meetings.
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