Chancellor search process proceeds with development of leadership statement

University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings has approved the leadership statement drafted by the 22-member committee that is conducting the search for Western Carolina University’s next chancellor.

The leadership statement, a detailed document designed to attract highly qualified candidates, was developed following eight public forums hosted by the search committee in the month of February. During those sessions – held on the Cullowhee campus and in Asheville and Cherokee – WCU’s faculty, staff, students and alumni and community members offered their input concerning the characteristics they would like to see in the successor to Chancellor David O. Belcher.

Western Carolina University’s chancellor since July 1, 2011, Belcher went on medical leave at the end of 2017 after battling brain cancer since April 2016, and does not expect to return to the position. Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar is serving as acting chancellor while he is on leave.

Approximately 150 members of the campus and surrounding communities took part in the February public forums, while hundreds more have provided input into the search process through an online survey.

The 16-page leadership statement includes detailed information about WCU, describes the expectations of the role of chancellor and lists requirements needed in order to be considered a serious candidate.

The search committee is working in collaboration with consultant Jerry Baker of the Buffkin Baker executive search firm toward a goal of having a new chancellor in place by Aug. 1. The committee is composed of members of the WCU Board of Trustees and faculty, student, staff, alumni and community representatives.

In her Jan. 19 charge to the committee, Spellings asked the group to bring forward three unranked candidates to present to the WCU Board of Trustees. After evaluating the committee’s slate of candidates, the WCU trustees will recommend the unranked candidates to Spellings for consideration or will return the slate of candidates to the search committee for further action. Following her evaluation of the candidates, Spellings will then recommend one finalist to the UNC Board of Governors for approval.

The search process now enters a “quiet phase” as the process of recruiting, evaluating and screening candidates begins in an effort to identify those who most closely match the qualifications and expectations outlined in the leadership statement.

For more information about the search process, including the leadership statement, visit the website