East Carolina University’s Chancellor Search Committee will resume its search for ECU’s next leader in September after delays paused the search during the summer 2020 semester due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Chair of the ECU Board of Trustees Vern Davenport will continue to serve as chair for the Chancellor Search Committee members, according to Davenport. He said the committee plans for a face-to-face meeting on Sep. 10 where it will review the lists of candidates for the position.
Davenport said the committee will look for qualified candidates with the focus on strategic priorities as it pertains to the changes in healthcare and higher education due to impacts of COVID-19. ECU’s relationship with Vidant Health is vital to the success of its health science campus and is something that needs critical care, according to Davenport.
“Clearly you’ve got to have a leader of our university who is focused on students and our mission to serve students as well as the faculty and the staff that serve that mission,” Davenport said.
The next chancellor will help craft a vision and multiple plans for the future of ECU, according to Davenport. He said the next chancellor will need to focus on aspects of regional transformation in eastern North Carolina and ECU’s relationship with the City of Greenville.
Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson will serve in his current position throughout the process for as long as needed, according to Davenport. He said Mitchelson has enthusiastically supported the Chancellor Search Committee as he was a prior provost for ECU.
Davenport said Mitchelson has a passion for all things ECU as he continues to work to provide an opportunity for students to experience on-campus instruction for the fall 2020 semester. He said the university has received recognition for its plans in place for the academic year.
“Who knows where this COVID-19 journey is going to take us, but with everything that is known today Ron and the leadership team at the university have done an extraordinary job preparing in every conceivable known way,” Davenport said.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Davenport had planned for the next chancellor to be on campus before the start of the fall 2020 semester. He said he is confident the President of the University of North Carolina System, Peter Hans, will make the right choice for ECU.
ECU’s Student Government Association Treasurer Morgan Fried said he hopes for the next chancellor to hold the quality of transparency. Fried said while many universities receive praise for their transparency, the next chancellor must be available and make their plans known to the community.
Fried said he prefers the next chancellor to have the knowledge of local and state government in the cases where complex matters arise. Personally speaking, Fried said he would hope to see the improvements of little things on campus, specifically the musical stairs outside Joyner Library.
“I think it’s the little things like that that just make the campus kind of magical in a sense. It’s always said that ECU is the next big university and I think there’s definitely potential for that to be true,” Fried said.
Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said a potential candidate must know this job faces challenges and can be difficult. The chancellor leads a team which is contingent on the success of the university, according to Mitchelson.
Mitchelson said the opportunity as interim chancellor has been a humble experience and he has a deep sense of pirate pride and loves to be a part of the pirate nation. He said he is optimistic for the next chancellor and believes a great one will be found amongst the pool of candidates.
Further information on the ECU Chancellor Search can be found on ECU’s website.