search committee

Members of the East Carolina University Chancellor Search Committee gather for a meeting in December. 

The search for East Carolina University’s next chancellor will pause due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The chancellor search committee was formed in late 2019, with the goal to find a future leader focused on student success and recruitment for faculty and research.

Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson said although he is not involved in the search process for the next leader, he is aware the search is stopped while ECU copes with issues related to COVID-19. Mitchelson said due to this, the search will be slower than expected.

“I am hopeful that this pause actually permits the pool of candidates to broaden and to deepen. In general, our campus desires a large and diverse pool of applicants,” Mitchelson said.

Junior Industrial Distribution and Logistics major, Tucker Robbins, who is also ECU Student Government Association President, said in a statement he is committed to have student interest at heart throughout the search. Robbins said in his statement he will help assist in the search for the next chancellor as SGA President.

“This University is in a very pivotal time as we search to bring in the 12 Chancellor of this institution. I believe that our future leader must embody our motto ‘servire.’ I also believe that our next Chancellor should embody a clear and sustainable vision to ensure student success, as well as eastern North Carolina’s transformation,” Robbins said in his statement.

Robbins spoke on the passion needed by the next chancellor, and said in his statement he wants all students to know his voice will be their voice and will represent what is best for the student population.

As of now, it doesn’t look like ECU can have a new chancellor on campus before the fall semester, according to Robbins. He said he plans to be actively engaged in the process to ensure ECU’s future leader truly embodies what it means to be a Pirate, and has full faith in Vern Davenport, who is the head of ECU BOT and the Chancellor Search.

Chair of the Chancellor Search Committee Vern Davenport also serves as the head of the ECU Board of Trustees. While the process has been paused, there has been no change to the search committee, according to Davenport.

“We’ve kept the portal open and the ability for applicants to express their interest or submit their application, but we have simply paused the search process for the single purpose of wanting to reinitiate it when we have a clear view or perspective on being able to complete it. It doesn’t seem to me that the right thing to do is try to do a process and never meet the candidate face to face and never have the candidate come to campus,” Davenport said.

Davenport said the goal is still to have a chancellor by fall 2020, but with every week that passes, that goal becomes more and more challenging.

Mitchelson has given the search committee comfort that they can take the time necessary to find the right person for this job and the committee will do it as expeditiously as they can, according to Davenport. He said he understands why some may worry about ECU not having a permanent leader for such a long period of time, but said the chancellorship at ECU is an easy position to sell and the candidates are impressive.

“ECU is a terrific place, and one of the few colleges in the country that has a medical, business, nursing and engineering school. There are a lot of talented people that are interested in it, but it’s also a challenging position. Obviously the last few years have not been our best with all the changes, but I think that those are in our rearview mirror now, and I feel that the university has stabilized under Chancellor Mitchelson’s leadership,” Davenport said.

Someone who cares about students and the academic mission of the university, has strong leadership qualities and fits ECU culturally would receive a tremendous amount of support from the ECU community, according to Davenport.

Until the position of chancellor is permanently filled, Chancellor Mitchelson will continue to stay in his interim role.

“From my perspective, I have consistently indicated to campus and BOT that I am willing to stay in the interim role until a successful search is completed. That commitment remains unchanged,” Mitchelson said.

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