ECSU Chancellor vacancy already drawing applicants
By Corinne Saunders
The Daily Advance
Monday, March 31, 2014
The vacant chancellor’s job at Elizabeth City State University is already drawing applicants, including a couple of former university presidents, the committee searching for ECSU’s next leader learned last week.
The chancellor job posting has been placed on five different websites, drawing an unspecified number of applicants, some from as far away as Michigan, Florida and Alabama, according to representatives of the search firm hired to orchestrate the search.
“We’ve definitely begun the search process,” Allen Sessoms, senior vice president of The Hollins Group, told the ECSU Chancellor Search Committee by conference call on Friday. “We’re seeing results already.”
The Hollins Group placed a 330-word job ad March 25 on the websites Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and HigherEdJobs. The ad was also placed on The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education website March 27 and on the American Conference of Academic Deans website March 28.
On April 4, the ad is slated to appear both in the print edition and on the website of The Chronicle of Higher Education, according to Tiffany Olson, director of research and client services for The Hollins Group.
Olson told search committee members over the phone that the online ads will stay up for 60 days. That timeframe actually means the ads will be up after the April 30 application deadline, Sessoms noted.
He said search committees “very often” choose to extend the closing date by a couple weeks, adding that typically, several candidates will apply after the closing date, and the extension will provide the search committee with more options.
Olson said that the search firm will start “populating the website” with candidate applications, which then will be made viewable to search committee members at a future date she did not specify.
“We screen them as they come in, so we do develop a hierarchal list as they come in,” Sessoms said of applications, noting that The Hollins Group completes a preliminary background check on applicants.
“They’re going to make recommendations, but they won’t eliminate any candidates,” Ann Lemmon, secretary of the University of North Carolina, who also was on the call, noted.
Sessoms echoed Lemmon, stating that The Hollins Group will simply make note of which applicants it considers the strongest.
In recent experience, Sessoms said that of 50 to 60 applicants, “a dozen of them or so will be strong,” but that “with the attributes of Elizabeth City State, it wouldn’t surprise me if there were more than that.”
Once the committee goes through the applications, members will choose candidates for the first round of interviews, typically conducted at an airport because of its convenience to out-of-town applicants.
Lemmon noted that during the approximately 1.5-hour interviews, it is typical to ask candidates 10 to 12 questions, which are chosen by search committees. Lemmon said she has a list of about 30 questions that were used in previous UNC system chancellor searches.
The ECSU chancellor search committee agreed that Lemmon should send the 30 questions to The Hollins Group for vetting. The firm in turn will provide questions to the search committee during a conference call scheduled for April 11.
The committee agreed to designate a subcommittee to choose and to personalize the questions for ECSU by April 25 — the date of the next committee meeting.
“You really want to tailor the questions to your mission statement,” Lemmon said, explaining that UNC-Chapel Hill’s search committee asked numerous questions about research, while the University of North Carolina School of the Arts committee asked a lot of questions about performance.
Abdul Rasheed, chairman of both the search committee and ECSU’s Board of Trustees, asked when the names of candidates will be presented to the full trustee board.
Lemmon said after the search committee narrows the candidate pool to three names, trustees will either approve them and pass them on to UNC President Tom Ross or will send the names back to the search committee.
According to the committee’s proposed timeline, the plan is to present the three names to the trustee board in August.
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