Recently, a friend of mine sent a link to a poll created by SGA into a groupchat of ours. The poll had some basic questions about what we, as students, value the most in a chancellor, to help them pick a candidate based on student interest.
I was excited to see this poll, as it means they actually do care about taking student opinion into account. This was also signaled by the fact that there are students involved with the search committee to begin with, something I think is crucial to ensuring a chancellor is picked who will fight for the students.
It got me thinking about what I personally view as the most important qualities of our eventual new chancellor should be. Some of the answers in the poll covered what I believe, and included everything from experience in academia to a passion for athletics.
I’m not going to get into my views on how athletics should fit into things, as I covered that extensively in an article last summer. Suffice it to say, that is pretty low on my list of priorities.
First and foremost, I think the chancellor should have experience with finance, preferably on a large scale. The last interim chancellor was hired for this exact reason, and I thought it was a really smart move on the part of the decision makers. The top priority for any new chancellor should be expediting the process of fixing the school’s budget deficit.
I also believe we would be better off with a chancellor who has experience working at a university, whether as a professor, administrator or both. It is difficult to imagine any candidate having the ability to properly guide the direction of a university without having worked at one previously.
Whoever gets picked should also be someone who has a passion for the student body, and has the ability to inspire students. Say what you want about Dan Gerlach, but he made an appearance at almost every major event, athletics or otherwise, and was usually met with cheers and a round of applause from all students present.
On a more personal note, I would like to see someone who has an appreciation for the arts get the job. As more and more school programs cut funding to the arts, or cut them entirely, it is more important than ever to preserve our arts education. No matter where you are in life, no matter what you’re doing, an artist was probably involved, from building design to being in the entertainment industry.
Our university has been without consistent leadership for most of the time I have been here, and without consistency at the top it is nearly impossible to expect consistency at any level. Most importantly of all, our new chancellor should have ideas for how to make East Carolina University the next great national university it wants to become.