Loading...
My child used to love school but, that has all changed once the new principal came to Farmville Middle School. What in...

UNC system should conduct public chancellor searches

1S7A6269-8

Members of the UNC Board of Governors chat before a meeting is convened at East Carolina University in 2015.

Loading…

Saturday, August 18, 2018

In Tom Fetzer’s defense of his recent actions as a member of the UNC Board of Governors, he was right about one matter: Secrecy is not paramount in the search for a new chancellor at one of our state universities.

Fetzer, in a column published by The News & Observer, defended his involvement in the search for a new chancellor at Western Carolina University. In our view, his actions were meddlesome and indicative of the larger problem of some board members being too involved in campus matters. We agreed with some current and former board members that Fetzer’s handling of the matter did not represent good board governance.

But we agree with an important point Fetzer made involving the misplaced and almost obsessive desire for secrecy when searching for the leader of one of our state universities. Fetzer noted that UNC President Margaret Spellings had been quoted recently as saying, “Confidentiality is paramount in the search process.”

“Respectfully, she’s wrong,” Fetzer wrote. What is paramount, Fetzer wrote, is abiding by the board’s oversight responsibility and hiring the best chancellor possible. He is right about that.

Fetzer appears to be right about another point: The vetting process for at least one of the Western Carolina chancellor candidates didn’t work. Fetzer wrote that UNC officials and its search firms “failed to notice a glaring misrepresentation on page 1 of the candidate’s application.”

There’s a simple fix to that problem, and it would solve other issues UNC has when hiring chancellors. That’s to publicly name two or three finalists and bring them to campus to meet with students, faculty, staff and members of the university community.

This has been done at times in the UNC system and it’s been effective. There’s no better way to check the qualifications of a candidate than to post the candidate’s name and resume online. That UNC hasn’t embraced the digital power of crowdsourcing shows it’s stuck in another era.

There are other benefits in naming finalists and bringing them to campus. The candidate ultimately selected has a chance to get buy-in and support from the university community. This lack of prior interaction with the university community has hurt ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton, who has struggled to win the support of stakeholders. That process went so poorly that the search firm returned its $110,000 fee.

Naming finalists is a prudent way to manage risk. And it’s effective. That’s why Wake commissioners announced finalists in choosing their county manager this year and why Raleigh and Durham named finalists in selecting their current police chiefs. Yes, some possible candidates might not be willing to be named. But the benefits of naming finalists outweighs the costs.

In his column, Fetzer took the news media to task for being hypocritical: “The same news media that have wrongly accused me of jeopardizing candidate confidentiality often make it their mission to disclose finalists — and vet them independently — before any hiring.”

But in criticizing Fetzer’s handling of the Western Carolina incident, The N&O did not criticize him for jeopardizing candidate confidentiality (although we did quote a board member who made that point). In fact, The N&O has longed pushed for finalists for high-level public jobs in the UNC system and elsewhere to be named.

We’d like to support Fetzer on this issue. We hope that he will vigorously make the case to the UNC board that finalists for all chancellor jobs be named publicly and that the candidates visit the campus to discuss their qualifications and ideas. If the board is serious about improving its search process, it would support naming finalists.

The Raleigh News & Observer

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

February 20, 2019

President Donald Trump likes to say that he hires only the best people and that his White House operates like a well-oiled machine.

But a steady stream of insider accounts flowing out of the West Wing suggests there’s more madness than method to the president and his administration.

The most…

APTOPIX Trump

February 18, 2019

Under the guise of preventing mass shootings, North Carolina lawmakers tried to chip away at the Second Amendment this week.

State Rep. Christy Clark, D-Mecklenburg, called a Thursday press conference at the General Assembly to introduce the Gun Violence Prevention Act, a grab bag of restriction…

February 17, 2019

U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., who died Sunday on his 76th birthday, was a fascinating lawmaker.

He was a man who held strong convictions but who was willing to listen to the other side and could be moved when the argument was particularly persuasive. He was the rare official who wasn’t…

Obit Walter Jones Jr-2

February 16, 2019

Florida has been forever changed by the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. In the 12 months since 17 people were killed by a troubled former student firing a semi-automatic assault rifle, there have been modest new gun controls, enhanced security at schools and an…

School Shooting Florida-1

February 15, 2019

When it seemed Mitt Romney might win the popular vote in 2012 but lose the Electoral College, Donald Trump called the system “a disaster for a democracy.”

He was right about that. The election four years later confirmed it.

He is the fifth president to have won only on account of an…

Electoral College-3

February 11, 2019

While North Carolina has become more accommodating to those outside the two-party paradigm, with the recent recognition of the Green and Constitution parties, third-party and unaffiliated voters are still getting the shaft.

The Carolina Journal reports that county boards of elections in the Tar…

Voting Records North Carolina

February 08, 2019

Having been forced to delay his State of the Union address by a government shutdown that he precipitated, President Trump seemed as though he might never yield the podium once he got his chance Tuesday night. In a speech that reflected endurance if not eloquence, Trump offered a thin sheen of…

State of Union-2

February 06, 2019

The number of pedestrians killed in the United States over the past decade or so — 49,340 between 2008 and 2017 — is about seven times higher than the number of Americans killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.

Those are among the many sobering statistics from a recent report…

Pedestrian Deaths Things to Know-1

February 04, 2019

If the war in Afghanistan has been anything, it has been a disappointment.

After 17 years of fighting that has seen thousands of deaths and nearly a trillion dollars in expenses, Americans are sick and tired of the interminable conflict.

Fortunately, serious and substantive negotiations are finally…

US Afghanistan

February 03, 2019

Those upset with how the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors is running the 17-campus system have been circulating a year-old magazine profile of Chairman Harry Smith. The profile, written by Jim Pomeranz and published last January in Business North Carolina, was headlined…

1S7A6270-9
79 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 8
        Next Page»   Last Page»