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Davis, California

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Selection of new chancellor under way

With Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef’s time as leader of UC Davis approaching an end in June, the search for his replacement continues.

An advisory committee consisting of 18 regents, students, alumni, staff and community members has been leading the search since their first meeting on Oct. 23, 2008 and will continue to meet every month until they make their final decision in February. The next meeting will be in January; however, university policy forbids the disclosure of the exact date.

The upcoming meeting will discuss “logistics,” of the hiring, said UC Office of the President spokesperson Trey Davis. UCOP released no further details.

Before the October session met, advisory members spoke about the qualities they hoped the new chancellor would possess.

“We’re looking for someone who is going to instill new ideas in the campus,” said Robert Powell, member of the advisory committee, chair of the UC Davis Academic Senate and a professor of chemical engineering and materials science in an October interview. “At the same time, we want them to understand who we are and ensure the culture of this campus.”

With the exception of the first meeting in October, committee meetings are closed to the public and members have been advised not to speak about the selection, as it is a matter of personnel.

“As a practical matter, many qualified people would be reluctant to interview or express an interest in the job without privacy or confidential protections,” Davis said in an e-mail interview.

The advisory committee was chosen according to UC regulations. The policy requires that there be five members of the UC regents, nine UC Davis faculty members, a foundation representative, a campus staff employee, an undergraduate student and a graduate student. In addition, the UC president and the chairman of the board of regents serve as ex-officio representatives.

Aside from the committee’s undergraduate student, ASUCD President Ivan Carrillo, and graduate student association chair, James Hodgson, a small group of students presented their concerns in the October meeting. Molly Fluet, Lia Shepherd and Traci Brown met with a group of students prior to the meeting to compose a list of qualities they hope the committee will consider in their selection.

Fluet, Shepherd and Brown presented these qualities for the allotted 15 minutes, leaving five minutes for questions from the committee. According to Shepherd, the committee asked one question.

“Twenty minutes was definitely not a long enough time,” said Shepherd, a fourth-year sociology major. “We were able to present some topics, but there wasn’t enough time to get into the specifics of those topics.”

Among the approximately 10 topics the students discussed in the presentation were to ensure the new chancellor keeps the integrity of the community by retaining the academic quality of the university and upholding principles of diversity.

“A lot of students didn’t even know about the meeting,” said Shepherd, who was notified about the student meeting in the Visitor’s Center a few days before it occurred. “It wasn’t in a place where students would be, so a lot of students didn’t even know about it. We were disappointed, but at least we spoke up at the meeting.”

The committee also invited staff, faculty, graduate students, law students, Academic Federation members and community members, according to Carrillo.

Comments to or questions for the committee can be e-mailed to davischancellorsearch@ucop.edu.

 

 

LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

 

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