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Monday, 04 April 2011 16:40

WCU chancellor pick expected Friday

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A new chancellor for Western Carolina University will be announced this Friday during the N.C. Board of Governor’s meeting in Chapel Hill, with live streaming of the event to be viewed on campus in Cullowhee.

The announcement by UNC system President Tom Ross is set to take place from 10:30 to 11 a.m. His announcement will be streamed for viewing at Blue Ridge Conference Room.

A chancellor-selection committee recently submitted top candidates’ names to Ross, who gets the final pick. Those names of finalists were not made public.

Longtime Chancellor John Bardo, 62, announced in October he planned to retire July 1. He has spent more than 15 years as WCU’s top leader.

Bardo said he is leaving because WCU has lost or will lose four to six key leadership positions within two years, signaling the arrival of a new guard. He said he believed a younger chancellor was needed to shepherd in this next phase for the university, and that his age might diminish the caliber of hires WCU could expect in filling the vacant, or soon-to-vacant, positions. These include the provost (second-in-command) and the university’s vice chancellor of administration and finance.

Bardo has far exceeded the career span of most university chancellors. The average tenure for a University of North Carolina chancellor is four-and-a-half years; nationally, the average is seven years.

Bardo plans to take a year of research leave before joining the WCU faculty. Current plans call for him to join the faculty in the College of Education and Allied Professions, WCU spokesman Bill Studenc said in an email to The Smoky Mountain News last week in response to questions about Bardo’s future role:

“His specific assignment is to be determined and will be based upon where he can be of the most service to the university and upon the outcome of his research,” Studenc said.

The salary range for a chancellor is $236,979 to $379,180, plus use of a 7,000-square-foot house (currently being given a nearly $300,000 facelift) including utilities, grounds keeping and a housekeeper. The chancellor also is given free use of a car. Bardo’s base salary is $280,000.

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