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Also Names Additional Member to Represent the Alumni

WINSTON-SALEM – The Chancellor Search Committee of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts held its first meeting on Tuesday. University of North Carolina President Tom Ross gave the committee its charge.

“I will tell you that … running an institution of higher education, particularly a public institution, is a difficult position to be in, and it is increasingly difficult,” Ross said as a preface to naming “certain core characteristics” for which he is looking.

“This is a special place and it will require a special leader,” President Ross said. First, he said, “You must have a person with integrity. And you must have a person with courage” because that person is responsible for managing in a very difficult environment, increasingly so, with a great deal of public scrutiny, in a challenging world … . The kind of leader that can do that successfully is one that has integrity and one that is courageous enough to make the right decision.”

Ross continued: “I think it is going to be important moving forward … to have an individual who can manage an organization, who understands the nuances of both the law and accounting requirements and principles but who also is attentive to personnel and understands morale….”

He would look for “someone who will care deeply about the faculty and the staff and will do everything possible to create an environment for them to use their talents,” because they are the people who work with the students. “If you don’t love students, you won’t like the job,” he added.

“At this institution, if the person who is leading it does not have a passion for the arts, they won’t be successful,” Ross said, adding that the ideal candidate doesn’t have to be a performer or someone who has run an arts institution. But they must have a passion for “the concept of a public conservatory,” he continued.

Ross said he would look for “someone who can manage in a tough fiscal environment” but who has the ability to see beyond financial constraints to articulate and “sell” a vision “because that’s part of what it takes to raise money.”  Ross said the candidate must be prepared to “invest significant time and energy in raising private resources.”

Other characteristics he cited include:

  • “The ability to understand and manage a high school at the same time you’re trying to operate a university.”
  • “Has to both be willing to engage with the community but has to be able to be successful at that.”
  • “Highly value academics.”
  • “People skills and communications skills.”

The committee has established a dedicated web page for the search: www.uncsa.edu/chancellorsearch/, and the actual audio of President Ross’ remarks are available there.

Chancellor Search Committee Chair Rob King also announced the addition of another member on the Search Committee: School of Dance alumnus Mark Land, representing the alumni. Land joins two other alumni on the committee, John Williams, who is representing the Board of Trustees, and Jamie Call Blankinship, who is representing the faculty.

King said that based on conversations he had with some alumni, he thought the addition of a person to specifically represent the alumni “would add value to a well-rounded team.”

Land is a former alumni director at the School of the Arts.

In other business, the committee:

  • Hired Baker and Associates LLC of Marietta, Ga., and Winston-Salem as the search firm;
  • Discussed creation of a leadership statement that would inform the firm’s creation of a job description;
  • Discussed methods of gaining input from many constituencies, including public forums and surveys; and
  • Discussed a timetable that would have a new chancellor named in the spring of 2013, for a July 1 start date.