Western Carolina University Chancellor Kelli R. Brown has announced that the university’s national search for a new vice chancellor for advancement has been suspended until June 2021.
Jamie Raynor, assistant vice chancellor for development and alumni engagement at WCU, will continue to serve as interim vice chancellor of advancement, Brown said. Raynor has been serving in that capacity since August 2019.
A campus committee chaired by Craig Fowler, chief information officer, began the search process in October of last year, meeting numerous times and reviewing the application materials of many candidates before conducting off-campus interviews in late February.
The committee selected three finalists for on-campus interviews, one of whom withdrew from the search process. One candidate was interviewed in early March, just before WCU and the University of North Carolina System initiated measures designed to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 illness, including restrictions on travel and limitations on meetings and gatherings of more than 10 people. The search resumed in May with a second on-campus interview.
“COVID-19 changed the trajectory of the process, although it did not stop us from proceeding to share with our candidates this wonderful place where we all enjoy working,” Brown said. “We had several sitting vice presidents and vice chancellors who applied and interviewed for this leadership role. Throughout the process, candidates expressed their desire to be at Western because it was a university that was making a difference in the lives of students and in the region, and Western has a positive reputation.”
After reviewing feedback from the search committee and campus constituents, Brown said she has decided against hiring a new vice chancellor for advancement at this time, and will revisit plans for the position next spring.
“In the meantime, I expect the team in the Division of Advancement to continue to cultivate relationships with friends and donors; to actively engage our alumni; to work with colleges, athletics and other groups across campus; and to continue to grow our endowments that support scholarships and the work of the university,” she said. “I have confidence in Jamie and this team. I know that, despite COVID-19, we will not stand still and that we will continue to innovate and be the best Advancement unit we can be.”