More details expected in how next City Colleges chancellor will be picked

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • March 26, 2009 @ 1:15 PM

The chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago says he's slated to meet next week with Mayor Richard M. Daley to talk about "refining the process" of picking a new chancellor for the community college system.

In recent months, faculty and students have insisted that they be involved in the selection process, and board chairman Jim Tyree suggests that the process will be more inclusive.

“The faculty preferred to have someone from within, the students want to have a voice, and we’re going to take that all into context and reach out to people,” Tyree says.

In the past, the Mayor has selected each Chancellor, with the Board of Trustees voting and ratifying those decisions. The district has used a special faculty committee to help interview potential candidates for the chancellorship, says Perry Buckley, the president of the Cook County College Teachers Union. But that committee doesn’t currently exist and it’s unclear if it will be convened.

Chancellor Wayne Watson, who has held the district’s top post since 1998, is stepping down at the end of June. He is one of two finalists, along with Department of Human Services Secretary Carol Adams, to be the next president of Chicago State University on the South Side.

Chicago is the only community college district in the state at which both the Board of Trustees and the chancellor are appointed. While that makes the district unique in Illinois, such a process is more common across the nation . Generally, even boards that are appointed by a governor or other official conduct their own search processes for chancellors, experts say.

“Good boards are good boards,” says Noah Brown, the president of the Association of Community College Trustees in Washington, D.C. “I mean, you can find examples of issues around the country with elected or appointed boards, so I think it really has to do with how well the board itself understands its mission and how it functions.”


Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.