Since Chancellor George Blumenthal announced his year-end retirement, the UC Santa Cruz campus has been buzzing with the question of who could potentially fill the position.
Leading the charge to find Blumenthal’s replacement is an advisory committee of 13 members. On Oct. 26, UC President Janet Napolitano announced the formation of the committee, which is made up of university faculty, staff, two students, alumni, foundation representatives and five UC regents.
On the committee, the student body is represented by Ayo Banjo, Student Union Assembly president, and Katie Hellier, vice president of shared governance for the Graduate Student Association. These students are responsible for contributing the student voice and have different qualities in mind for the potential new chancellor.
“The student experience across departments and divisions is extremely different,” said Hellier. “So it’s going to be a unique challenge that we, as the student representatives, voice all student concerns.”
The UC is looking for someone to continue working toward the goals Blumenthal set, primarily the 2018 Strategic Academic Plan and the 2020 Long-Range Development Plan, said UC director of media relations Claire Doan.
“The next chancellor will be joining UC Santa Cruz at a pivotal moment in the institution’s trajectory as the campus thinks about its next phase of strategic planning,” Doan said in an email. “The university will look to the chancellor for leadership and vision to secure the university’s future, building upon a solid foundation and with an eye toward expanded excellence and influence.”
The search for a new chancellor can be lengthy and committee members are involved in recruiting, screening and administering interviews with candidates for the position.
Before Blumenthal was officially appointed as chancellor, he served as acting chancellor for 14 months while the campus searched for somebody to fill the position permanently. He took the position on Sept. 19, 2007.
The first chancellor search committee meeting will be on Nov. 16 at UCSC, where the members and select invited guests will
assemble to begin discussing the process of finding a new chancellor. Napolitano’s remarks will lead the closed session followed by separate sessions with a variety of campus constituency groups. Alumni, donors and community leaders will also provide input during a luncheon, according to UC Office of the President.
With each student having an individual experience at UCSC, there are a variety of qualities students are looking for in Blumenthal’s replacement. Student concerns vary from environmental, such as the Student Housing West project, to increases in tuition.
“What I’m mainly looking for in the new chancellor is someone who addresses the racial imbalance we have on campus,” said second-year Annika Streeb. “Being at UCSC, we’re often seen as so accepting, but I think there are a lot of underlying issues that aren’t talked about and it would be nice to have a chancellor who would finally address that.”
With only two students on the committee, outside student input is encouraged because some student needs won’t be represented in the meetings.
The search for a new chancellor has just begun and it is important for students to continue voicing their opinions. A nominee is expected to be submitted to the UC Board of Regents by May 2019.