CHAPEL HILL – With the resignation of Harry Smith as Chair of the UNC Board of Governors, we have yet another in a series of leadership changes across the University of North Carolina System.
The Board elected Randy Ramsey yesterday to serve the remainder of Smith’s term as Chair until June 30, 2020.1
But this revolving door among leaders of our state’s public universities – which keeps spinning even as the system embarks on a search for a new president – speaks to poor governance and a disturbing lack of stability.
By next year, the UNC System could have placeholders in as many as six key positions:
- President of the UNC System;
- Chancellor at UNC Chapel Hill;
- Chancellor at East Carolina University;
- Chancellor at UNC Charlotte;
- Chancellor at Fayetteville State University; and
- Chancellor at the UNC School of the Arts.
Change can be good, and some turnover is to be expected in any organization.
But the cumulative effect of this is not. This amount of churn is not the picture of stability our state’s students, parents, faculty and business leaders expect at institutions that will shape the futures of both individual students and the state.
As Interim UNC System President Bill Roper has said, we need to settle things down.
According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, by next year, two-thirds of the jobs in North Carolina will require education beyond high school. It will be difficult to complete the vital task of preparing our state’s workforce if we cannot attract top talent for our leadership positions.