As the University of North Carolina Wilmington marks one of the happiest occasions in its annual cycle – commencement exercises for about 1,200 students – the institution is looking at significant leadership transitions.
Four key officials at UNCW have either found jobs at other universities or, like chancellor Gary Miller, are in the job market. And those potential vacancies in the chancellor's office, financial administration and business school could have impacts on the area's business community off campus as well.
“The two [people] we know are leaving UNCW are going to be missed,” said Connie Majure-Rhett, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. “[Business school dean] Larry Clark has built a great program. The Cameron Executive Network is outstanding, and the number and quality of internships the school has helped students find – not only in North Carolina but in places like Chicago and New York – those didn’t happen by accident."
Cameron School of Business dean Clark and graduate associate dean Rebecca Porterfield have accepted positions elsewhere. Clark will become chancellor of Louisiana State University–Shreveport, and Porterfield has been named dean of the Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University.
“We were excited to see Dr. Porterfield take over at the Swain Center [at UNCW],” Majure-Rhett said. “We worked with her to start some new programs and projects, and she always had good success."
UNCW officials on Friday said that Robert Burrus, an economics professor who currently serves as associate dean of undergraduate studies at Cameron, has accepted the interim post to fill in after Clark leaves. Burrus' appointment is effective June 1, UNCW provost Denise Battles said in a letter to the Cameron Business School community.
Miller is in the running for the top job at two universities: SUNY Buffalo State and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. A third university at which he was a finalist for the president’s job, Youngstown State University in Ohio, announced Friday it had chosen former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel to lead the institution.
A fourth top administrator, Charles Maimone, is under consideration for the position of vice chancellor of business affairs at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. According to UNCG’s website, Maimone is a candidate for that position, which is the same position he currently holds at UNCW.
In her announcement about Burrus on Friday, Battles said a national search for Clark's permanent replacement was expected to start in the fall.
The absence of permanent leadership in the meantime has some business leaders concerned.
“What is concerning is that we may not have a new business dean until July 2015 because of the way academic searches work,” Majure-Rhett said. “And if [Miller and Maimone] are looking for new opportunities, they too will be missed. Chancellor Miller serves on our board, and Charles Maimone is on our foundation board. We enjoy working with both of them.”