With UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef’s 15-year tenure coming to a close in June, the search is on for someone to take over the fifth floor of Mrak Hall.
A search committee made up of students, staff, faculty, alumni and UC regents is currently working to find a new chancellor. But what exactly does the chancellor do and should students even care?
Vanderhoef says his job is mostly about being a representative of UC Davis.
“The greatest share of my time is spent at the interface between the campus and the rest of the world,” he told The Aggie editorial board last fall.
The chancellor is also responsible for hiring all the vice chancellors (the executives who essentially run UC Davis) and the deans. The deans hire the department heads, and the department heads hire the faculty.
In other words, his actions have little direct impact on the day-to-day lives of students.
The chancellor has little influence over the campus budget beyond signing off on the final draft. He doesn’t have the power to raise or lower student fees. He doesn’t make decisions about whether to build new dormitories or to add wireless internet to, say, 1100 Social Sciences.
The chancellor is the person at the top of a vast and complex network of administrators and staff who make most of the decisions that students actually care about.
To that extent, students should care about who the next chancellor is. If all you want is more parking spaces, however, a better bet would be to politely harass the appropriate vice chancellor (ahem, Stan Nosek) until he gives in.
That’s not to say students shouldn’t care. The chancellor sets the tone for the university, helps guide long-term development and serves as an example of what UC Davis stands for.