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Spellings' leaving won't affect chancellor search

UNC Spellings

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, file photo, Margaret Spellings, president of the North Carolina public university system, makes comments after being elected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina's public university board is holding an emergency session amid news reports that Spellings is leaving as president of the state's 17-campus system. A statement from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors says Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 emergency session was called to "consider an executive personnel matter." (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Elizabeth City State University officials don’t expect the scheduled departure of University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings to delay the appointment of a new chancellor at ECSU.

Harold Barnes, chairman of the ECSU Chancellor Search Committee and an ECSU trustee, told the committee Thursday that Spellings’ departure in March “will have no impact on our job.”

Barnes said he still expects to have a new chancellor named in January 2019.

Steve Long of the UNC Board of Governors, who was present for the search committee meeting, said after the meeting that he agrees the process will continue on its current pace.

Asked if Spellings’ resignation will affect how the UNC Board of Governors views her recommendation for a chancellor at ECSU, Long said he doesn’t think so. Spellings has been very invested in ECSU’s turnaround and will be in a good position to name a leader who will keep ECSU moving forward, he said.

“We are working hard to keep ECSU on the upswing,” Long said.

Karrie Dixon, a UNC System vice president, has been serving as interim chancellor at ECSU since Thomas Conway retired from the post in May. Citing the confidentiality of the chancellor search process, Dixon’s office has declined to say whether she is a candidate for the chancellor position.

Barnes told the committee Thursday he appreciates the way Spellings “took ECSU under her wing and made sure that we got the resources that we needed.”

In addition, Barnes said Long has been vigilant in keeping the needs of ECSU before both Spellings and the UNC Board of Governors.

The committee is scheduled to conduct in-person interviews with half a dozen chancellor candidates Nov. 28-29 and will select from that group three to four to bring to campus for final interviews.

The panel will then submit the names of three candidates to the ECSU Board of Trustees at trustees’ Dec. 5 meeting. The trustees then will send three names to Spellings, who will make a recommendation to the UNC Board of Governors.

“At that point our job is over,” Barnes said, explaining that the president and UNC board will then handle the next chancellor’s appointment.

The Board of Governors meets Dec. 14 and Long said he expects the board will name a chancellor at that meeting.

Barnes also noted Thursday that two members of the committee from Chowan County — businessman Charlie Creighton and Edenton-Chowan Schools Assistant Superintendent Tanya Turner — had left the committee, citing the time commitment.

The committee was designed with enough original members to be able to withstand some attrition, according to Barnes, so the process will be able to move forward.

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