UC committee will help in search for new chancellor for UC Merced

October 16, 2010 

University of California president Mark Yudof said Friday that the selection process for UC Merced's new chancellor is under way.

UC officials said in a news release that he chose an advisory committee -- a group composed of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members -- to help with the search and vetting process.

UC Merced's current chancellor Steve Kang said in September he would resign June 30, 2011, to return to the classroom.

Kang, 65, was the school's second chancellor and began serving in March 2007.

Before working at UC Merced, Kang served as a university faculty member and administrator for 25 years, six of which included working as a professor of electrical engineering and dean of the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.

Kang is also an internationally recognized electrical engineer and holds more than a dozen patents in integrated-circuit design, UC Merced officials said.

During his time as chancellor, UC Merced increased its size to more than 4,300 students this fall from fewer than 1,300 in 2007.

Kang also oversaw the revision of the campus' Long Range Development Plan and helped complete the school's first Strategic Academic Vision.

Five UC regents were appointed by Russell S. Gould, chairman of the UC Board of Regents and a member of the committee to serve.

Members of the committee include:

UC Regents Rex Hime, Sherry Lansing, Hadi Makarechian, Frederick Ruiz and Jesse Cheng;

* Faculty representatives Dan Simmons, chair of the universitywide Academic Senate and UC Davis professor of law; Henry C. Powell, former chair of the universitywide Academic Senate and UC San Diego professor, Department of Pathology; Evan Heit, chair of the UC Merced Academic Senate and UC Merced professor, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts; Michael Colvin, UC Merced professor, School of Natural Sciences; and Martha Conklin, UC Merced professor, School of Engineering;

* Staff representative Erin Webb, president of the UC Merced Staff Assembly;

* Student representatives Katherine Harris, campus affairs officer, UC Merced Graduate Student Association; and Lamar Williams, president, UC Merced Associated Students;

* Alumni representative Josh Franco, former president of UC Merced Associated Students;

* UC Merced Foundation representative Josh Becker, chair of the foundation board; and

* Ex-officio members of the committee -- Yudof, convener of the committee; and Russell S. Gould, chairman of the UC Board of Regents.

The group will meet for the first time in closed session Nov. 1 at UC Merced and will discuss the search and the leadership needs of the university.

The committee will assist in recruiting, screening and interviewing during the nationwide search. A selection should be made by spring 2011, according to UC officials.

UC Merced has contracted with Isaacson, Miller, an executive recruiting firm, to conduct the search.

Lamar Williams, president of the Associated Students of UC Merced, said he hopes a chancellor will be appointed who will follow Kang's legacy of providing leadership as well as understanding the Central Valley, the larger community and the needs of first-generation students.

"(Kang) was in tune with student issues, but he would make decisions that would affect the whole university," Williams said. "I want to make sure that balance leadership is continued. He was really sincere in that."

Public comments are encouraged throughout the search process. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to chancellorsearch@ucmerced.edu.

Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or joppenheim@mercedsun-star.com.

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