(pictured above: Debra Miller listens as Chancellor Donald Reaves speaks last year at the grand opening of a center named in his honor.)
The search is on for the next Winston-Salem State University chancellor, and the public is being invited to add its two cents.
The Chancellor’s Search Committee is hosting a series of public forums as part of its effort to find someone to replace Dr. Donald Reaves, who announced in March that he will retire Dec. 31 after leading the school for seven years.
This evening (Thursday, May 1) at 7 p.m. in room 100 of the school’s Donald Julian Reaves Student Activities Center, the public and alumni are invited to give committee their input. Yesterday, two similar meetings were held for students, faculty and staff.
“We have a search committee that’s going to be good at being good listeners to hear what the community has to say to help select the next chancellor,” said Debra Miller, who heads the WSSU Board of Trustees and the 20-member search committee.
The Board of Trustees appointed the committee, which includes alumni, students, faculty and staff, last month. Members held their first meeting on April 21 at the Greensboro Airport Marriott.
The public input will be used to help draft a leadership statement, which will be given to the search firm that will be charged with finding qualified candidates for the position. The 12 most promising applicants will be interviewed by the Committee, which will recommend their top two or three picks to UNC System President Tom Ross. He will then pick one candidate to present to the UNC Board of Governors, which will ultimately hire the new chancellor. Miller said ideally, the committee would like to see the processes completed before Reaves – who will continue to have a presence at WSSU as a professor – takes his bow at the end of the year. The next chancellor will be the school’s 13th.
“It’s been great to see us evolve as a university as we have under (Reaves’) leadership and to be able to find someone who will complement what he’s already done and build on what he’s already done is exciting for me to be a part of it,” she said.
Randon Pender – president of the Brown Alumni Chapter, one of the city’s oldest WSSU alum organizations – said she is glad alumni have a voice on the committee. WSSU National Alumni Association President Gordon Everette, who was contacted for this story, but deferred to Miller, is a search committee member.
Pender plans to attend tonight’s meeting to say that she wants a chancellor who is not only a strong leader but is visible on campus and at open houses.
“I would like the individual to be a visionary; I would like them to be positive and be able to influence leadership in a positive way, not in a dogmatic way” she said. “… A down-to-earth type of person; a hit-the-pavement type of person who’s out in the community.”
The other search committee members are: WSSU Trustee and School Board Member Victor Johnson Jr.; WSSU Trustee and Mayor Pro Temp Vivian Burke; WSSU Trustee and Wells Fargo Senior Vice President Sue Henderson; WSSU Trustee and Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust President Karen McNeil-Miller; WSSU Trustee and PNC Bank Senior Vice President Keith Vaughan; WSSU Trustee and WSSU Student Government Association President Bryant Bell; WSSU School of Health Sciences Dean Peggy Valentine; WSSU Faculty Senate Vice Chair Ludovic Kovalik; WSSU Staff Senate President LaTonya Amos; Mayor Allen Joines; WSSU Foundation Board Chair Peggy Carter; The Winston-Salem Foundation President Scott Wierman, WSSU Professor Dennis Felder; retired educator Cleveland Ellison; Union Baptist Pastor Rev. Dr. Sir Walter Mack Jr.; WSSU Board of Visitors Member and Newbridge Bank Vice President Coretta Bigelow; and WSSU Board of Visitors Member and orthodontist Dr. L’Tanya Bailey.