Public input sought in chancellor search

Members of the public will have an opportunity to have their voices heard by the search committee that will help select the next chancellor of Western Carolina University during a series of open forums Monday, Nov. 22.

Four hourlong meetings to seek public comment will be held in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus beginning at 1 p.m. Each session is designed for a specific constituent group, but all sessions are open to anyone who wants to participate.

The public forum schedule:

• Faculty members – 1-2 p.m.

• Staff members – 2-3 p.m.

• Students – 3-4 p.m.

• Alumni, community members and supporters of intercollegiate athletics – 4-5 p.m.

In addition to the open forums, members of the public also can share their thoughts on WCU’s next chief executive officer through a questionnaire that will be posted on the chancellor search committee’s website –

The online questionnaire will allow visitors to the website to provide input on the “state of the university,” preferred priorities, suggested background of candidates, and any other pertinent issues.

All scheduled search committee meetings are open to the public. The Nov. 22 open forums are the only meetings that will have time for public comment.

Following the forums, the committee will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, to discuss public feedback and review the official position description for the chancellor’s post. The meeting will be held in the Peele, Westmoreland Suhre, Hartshorn Hospitality Room of the Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Another meeting is set for 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, in the Hospitality Room of the Ramsey Center.

The WCU Board of Trustees recently appointed a 16-member search committee to help select a successor for Chancellor John W. Bardo, who has announced his plans to step down next summer after more than 15 years in the position. The committee is working closely with Baker and Associates, an executive search firm, to identify a pool of candidates.

After reviewing candidates, the committee will recommend its top choices to the WCU trustees, who will forward the names of at least two nominees to Tom Ross, who takes over as University of North Carolina president later this year. Ross then will present his recommendation to the full UNC Board of Governors for final consideration and approval.

Search committee members are striving to have a new chancellor named and ready to lead the university by July 1.

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