(L-R) Taken by Bryan Tuttle & Courtesy of UCR Today
(L-R) Taken by Bryan Tuttle & Courtesy of UCR Today

Nearly a month after Jane Close Conoley was named the interim chancellor of UC Riverside in October 2012, a 17-member search committee was appointed to find a permanent replacement for former UCR chancellor Timothy White. White stepped down from his post to become chancellor of the California State University system last week.

The appointment of the search committee, announced Dec. 20, 2012, will include faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation representatives to the advisory committee whom were all nominated by UC President Mark Yudof. Additionally, five UC Regents were also appointed to the committee by UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing.

Acting as an advisory group to Yudof, the search committee will not directly choose the next chancellor of UCR. The committee members will be involved in the recruitment, interview and screening of the applicants interested in the position.

According to Steve Montiel, UCOP media relations director, additional meetings may be scheduled between Yudof and candidates, who are ranked most highly by the committee. Yudof will then recommend a possible candidate to the regents, who will vote on the nomination in the summer.

While the committee has yet to convene, they are scheduled to visit UCR on Jan. 10 for an event known as “Campus Day.” According to Student Regent Jonathan Stein, an advisory committee member, the event is a chance for the group to engage the campus and assess what issues are the most pressing.

“You spend an hour with students, and an hour meeting with staff, and you spend an hour meeting with faculty and so on,” stated Stein. “I guess the idea is, you get a sense of what the Riverside campus values and wants in its next Chancellor.”

Also among the 17 members of the search committee is UCR physics professor Jose Wudka. In an interview with the Highlander, Wudka talked about some of the qualities he feels are important in finding a new chancellor.

“The chancellor will be the most important emissary of UCR to the outside world. She or he should support, foster and, if needed, produce UCR’s drive towards increasing quality in research, teaching and service to the state,” said Wudka. “The UC in general and UCR in particular have gone through very rough times, partly because the public of California is not aware of the benefits to the State the system provides… The chancellor should be part of the information system that transmits this to the public, emphasizing the unique status of UCR.”

Regent Stein also talked about what he will be looking for in the next chancellor.

“Riverside is a really special place,” said Stein. “It is a place where the UC mission is truly upheld. I see the UC mission as combining research and academic excellence with education access for underrepresented communities and for low income students…it’s important that the next Chancellor understands what makes UC Riverside so special.”