Feb 102009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

To guide its members in defining the characteristics of a future chancellor, CSU System Board of Governors representatives met Tuesday with university stakeholders, who called for a leader with an academic background and questioned the system’s delineation of power.

Diane Evans, a former board member, and Stephen Portch, advisor to the BOG’s search process and former chancellor for the University System of Georgia, were present in the Lory Student Center to hear input from university constituents, many of whom advocated for a system in which its presidents would not report to its chancellor.

Tim Gallagher, the faculty representative for the BOG and a member of the American Association of University Presidents, said a board priority should be to establish a system capable of respecting the culture of academics, with a chancellor who would “not get in the way of university presidents.”

“The fact of the matter is the (system’s) organization chart suggests (the chancellor) could, and that concerns me,” he said.

Portch, who also acted as president of the University of Wisconsin, said he was not aware of any system in the country in which a campus president did not report to the system’s chancellor but reiterated that the board is open to suggestions.

Student government president Taylor Smoot encouraged the board to hire someone “who’s looked at as an expert in higher education, not just looked at as a lobbyist,” but Vice President Quinn Girrens said she sees the next chancellor as someone with stronger ties to state legislature.

“I agree with the necessity of coming from a university background, but I don’t know if it’s the most important quality,” she said.

Faculty Council chair Richard Eykholt said if the BOG intends to hire a chancellor that will oversee campus presidents, the chancellor must then have an academic background in order to properly manage the job a president is hired to do.

“I’m quite sympathetic to the fact that the responsibilities (of president and chancellor) need to be separate,” he said, “but a chancellor that presidents report to needs to have the same qualifications of a president.”

Evans said the board has not yet decided anything in regard to the future chancellor’s qualifications and is keeping an open mind in regards to stakeholders’ feedback.

“Our inability to provide answers (to stakeholders) today should be proof that the board is listening,” she said.

The positions of chancellor and president were officially split last December, but Portch said BOG discussions regarding the roles began before former CSU President Larry Penley’s exit from the university.

After Penley’s departure, Portch said, the board determined that it foresees growth for CSU as a system rather than growth as two separate campuses with a common board. In doing so, the BOG deemed it necessary to have a system head available to continuously represent the campuses to state legislature.

Stakeholder input will be submitted in report format to the board, which will review it at its February meeting and, from there, begin drafting a job description and forming a search committee.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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