On two occasions recently I have proffered my opinions re: The Next President of The UNC System. Both commentaries drew more than the usual reader interest which is what we strive for here. Hell, lets do it one more time.
In the first instance, in the wake of BOG Chair John Fennebresque earning his nickname of “Trainwreck” by using a sledge hammer to explain all the “why I didn’ts” for “why he did” fire Tommy “Z. Smith” Ross effective eleven months and two weeks farther in the future than any rational mind would have conceived.
Then I proposed Eeeeevil Art Pope to replace “Z. Smith” Tom. Figuring Franklin Street was already in a “hair-on-fire” frenzy so why not shove’em over the edge. I did … it did and over-the-edge they went. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Not that Art Pope would not be an excellent choice, he certainly would be; but his appointment might be just a tad too controversial…. if anything connected with UNC could ever be “too” anything.
More recently I proposed a more mainstream choice – current NCSU Chancellor – the eminently popular Randy Woodson. That blew up The Brickyard as they do not want to give up their fine Chancellor to the political quicksand bog of the BOG…. the BOG bog!
That is understandable and a tribute to Randy Woodson who is THE most outstanding UNC Chancellor within 20 miles of RDU Airport. “That” is a dubious honor as his competitors are UNCCH Chancellor Carol “Chihuahua” Folt under probation and besieged by SACS and NCAA investigators…. and whoever is Chancellor this week at NCCU in Durham. Randy could whup those two without breaking a sweat even in today’s 100 degree temperature.
I proposed Randy as a quite acceptable compromise choice to appease at least a few people who pretend to care about The UNC System. Not to be confused with curiosity-seekers who love to watch the academic chaos that has become synonymous with all things UNC. Randy refuses to even consider the promotion because Randy knows it is a pretty awful job if he has to deal with John “Trainwreck” Fennebresque for any length of time. I told you Randy was a smart guy.
Ideally I would recommend a non-academic CEO for the UNC Prez post. A big boy CEO with a proven track record of quantifiable RESULTS. Alas “those types” don’t get out of bed for “just a million a year.” UNC can’t afford what they can’t afford NOT to go get.
Squawking academaniacs DEMANDING one of their idiotic ilk as Prez are NUTZ. We all know that.
No less an authority than previous UNC Prez Erskine Bowles said the Prez job is a CEO-function… whereas on-campus Chancellors should come out of academia. For a non-academic to have to be on-campus and tolerate faculty squirrels and whimpering students for days-on-end is a recipe for career suicide.
No one in their right mind would want to do that. At least not at a radical left-wing hell-hole such as UNC-CH. Dealing with a different faculty (and student) mindset at institutions such as NC State is a different situation.
Riding herd on 17 campuses is “a big boy business” not a play toy for “a school teacher”. You need someone who can read a balance sheet not Proust.
If they leave Randy at NCSU where he is a happy Randy then he will probably bolt for a 40-50% raise to somewhere else in a year or so…. so either way, Randy leaves The Brickyard.
So who gets the UNC Prez gig? My pals down at the John Locke Foundation / Pope Center / Civitas are world-class policy wonks. They get all esoterical and into the deep wonky weeds I run away from. They have a recent column that probably provides the answer to those who are fans of deep esoteric weed patches….. Here is their opinion:
I’m good with that plan. I doubt such a fine individual would ever sign on to report to “Trainwreck” however. Only someone desperate to change his/her/its current situation would ever want to deal with “Trainwreck”.
The only way to get rid of “Trainwreck” is thru NC Senate President Phil Berger. Senator Berger is widely hailed as one of the for-real leaders in the General Assembly. The competition to be an effective “leader” in the General Assembly is not exactly daunting. Phil Berger could be “the tallest midget in the room” with that bunch. I give him more credit than that.
If Phil Berger does NOT get “Trainwreck” Fennebresque OUT of the chairman’s seat of the UNC BOG my opinion of him will change dramatically.
“Trainwreck” is a gosh-awful totally ineffective leader for an admin board such as The UNC BOG. The skill set required does not match “Trainwreck’s” AT ALL. I still say he would be a terrific Ambassador To Vermont.
Any board with 32 freakin’ members is a joke so lets get someone with a sense of humor. Finding an academic with a sense of humor is like finding a big time college basketball coach that doesn’t cheat in recruiting. Ooops, lets not go there today.
…. It doesn’t matter if its 32 Republicans, 32 Democrats or 32 Chechen terrorists…. 32 board members is an ill-fated Tower of Babel. Bill Friday purposely made the UNC Board too unwieldly to ever be effective or get in his way as he ran the system. Bill Friday is long gone and 32 members is waaaay too many of anything.
With “Trainwreck” at the helm it really doesn’t matter who the $150,000 search firm digs up. Chaos and Frustration will be the order of the day. Replace “Trainwreck” with any of 4-5 in-house possibilities and it’s a different story. Its all up to Phil Berger.
Until then the Lockers can diagram all manner of “reforms” and “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” for mucking the swamp of high academia. But it’s all just “theory” for now.