Hap McSween recently sat down with Tennessee Today to discuss the chancellor search process.
The search committee charged with helping to find the next Chancellor for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, held its first meeting Thursday and outlined plans for a broad and inclusive process that will include extensive campus community involvement and input.
Harry "Hap" McSween, chair of the 21-member committee said the group will work diligently to identify a leader with great vision for the campus.
"We are committed to an aggressive timetable for this search and would like to have candidates on campus to interview as soon as possible. However, the quality of the candidates is more important than the timeline, and we are dedicated to doing this quickly but even more dedicated to doing it well," McSween said.
A distinguished professor of planetary sciences and acting department head, McSween has served the university for more than 30 years.
He explained that in the search for Chancellor, the top candidates must have more than managerial experience.
"They will have the ability to inspire and lead our campus toward greater academic excellence and public service," he said.
The committee will work to recommend top candidates for consideration by President John Petersen. Petersen will select the final candidate from those recommended and present that individual to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
The search process will include open forums so the campus community can meet the candidates, pose questions and offer suggestions. These forums will be held only during a full academic semester to ensure that any member of the campus community can participate.
To find the best candidate possible, UT will employ a search firm to help us with this national search and to widely advertise the position.
"We’re looking for candidates who can recognize the remarkable strides this university has made in its academic reputation and scholarship and who have the leadership ability to continue that upward trajectory," McSween said.
The appointment of the committee was the first step in ensuring a successful outcome, he said. The 21-member search committee has a broad representation, he said, and reflects the many constituencies of the campus and community. It includes faculty, staff, students, Board of Trustee members and Knoxville community members.
"We have become accustomed to great leadership at UT Knoxville, and we expect that tradition to continue. We acknowledge that there are both opportunities and challenges in conducting this search, and the committee looks forward to working with the entire campus community to recommend the best leadership possible for our campus," said McSween.