NCCU narrowing the field in search for new chancellor

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 06:18 PM

The search for a new chancellor at N.C. Central University is entering its final stages.

The university’s chancellor search committee meets today for closed-session interviews with “the final four or five candidates” for the post, said committee chair Harold Epps. The committee members are bringing in the candidates for a second series of interviews as they attempt to narrow the field to three finalists.

The committee hopes to finish the process and have those three finalists by the end of the month, so it can turn over the names to UNC system President Tom Ross. Ross makes the final decision on who will be the next chancellor of NCCU, with the approval of the system’s Board of Governors.

“We are very close to delivering those three finalists to President Ross,” said Epps, a member of the school’s Board of Trustees. “We just have to do some further pruning and purging with our short list to make it even shorter.”

The committee, which started advertising for the position last fall, received more than 50 serious applications for the post. Around 15, Epps said, “really stood out.”

Of the 15, the committee in December chose to interview seven before cutting the number to the remaining four or five.

“Now it’s getting very tough,” Epps noted. “We have some very, very strong candidates now and it’s becoming increasingly challenging and difficult [to eliminate any].”

This second round of interviews is designed to probe deeper than the previous meetings, Epps said. Today, he added, is also an opportunity to “expose the candidates to a wider group of people” at NCCU.

“When you are hiring somebody who’ll probably be here for at least more than half a decade, you don’t get it all in one round,” Epps said. “You need more depth and breadth, you need more exposure to a wider set of constituents, to the people that the new chancellor will work with.”

If the search committee can narrow the field to the three finalists by the beginning of February, it will remain on the schedule it set for itself last August. The plan remains for the new chancellor to take over before the beginning of the next academic year.

The campus’ new leader will replace Charlie Nelms, who announced suddenly last summer that he was stepping down from the post after five years at NCCU.