What to expect for the upcoming 2023 chancellor open forum

Brianna Fay, News Editor

Graphic by Brianna Fay / The Runner

California State University, Bakersfield is holding a forum in junction with the search for a new chancellor for the CSU system on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at noon in the Dore Theater.   

According to the California State University’s official website, at the beginning of Jan. 2023, the search for the new leader of the system overseeing 23 universities was finalized. 

In the search for a new chancellor, the CSU will be holding three different forums at different locations—the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach, CSUB, and San Francisco State University—and has two different committees—the Implementation Committee and Assessment Committee—to help narrow down the search for a qualified chancellor. 

Mike Uhlenkamp, the CSU senior director of public affairs, discussed the importance of the chancellor position.  

“The chancellor is responsible for the management of the entirety of the [CSU] System and the system-wide policy issues,” Uhlenkamp said.  

This means that the chancellor oversees nearly half a million CSU students, and all 23 campus presidents report to them. 

The process of finding a new chancellor starts with the three forums that are being held. Everyone can attend—both CSU constituents and members of the wider community. Additionally, people can attend the forums either in-person or sign-up to watch and participate over Zoom. 

After the three forums, the feedback from those will be taken in by the Implementation and Assessment committees. Uhlenkamp said the people that make up these committees. 

“There’s members of student representation, members of the academic senate, there’s staff representation, there’s trustees, there’s even a couple of campus presidents—so it’s a collective effort,” Uhlenkamp said. 

After the committees take in all the feedback and deliberate, a “leadership profile,” as Uhlenkamp explained, will be created, which goes over the position description and the qualities that the committees are looking for in a candidate. 

Next, the committees will do what Uhlenkamp described as the largest vetting process for candidates that are highly qualified for the position. Then those candidates will be narrowed down to a small group of finalists that will be interviewed by the full Board of Trustees. 

After that long process is over, a chancellor will hopefully be appointed sometime during the summer. 

While the wider community and public are not involved with the appointment of the chancellor, the forums that are being held at the beginning of the process are important because it gives students a chance to be directly involved with the appointment of someone that is advocating for them. 

The advocating that the chancellor does, for example, is for state funds for the CSU schools in the system.  

“The state budget is based on the system. The campuses don’t get a specific amount of funding, the funding all comes to the chancellor’s office and then its distributed to the campuses,” Uhlenkamp said.  

Community members are encouraged to give their feedback to the committees because the funding that schools get affects them. 

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny said that she hopes for “overwhelming participation” because “feedback will define the qualities, strength, and direction of the new chancellor.”  

Zelezny hopes that because the new chancellor will be serving the 460,000 CSU students, CSUB students will take part in the forum so that their voices are heard. 

“It’s incredibly important to hear from the students that we serve… and what their expectations are,” Zelezny explained. 

Senior Business major Chloe Brunswick discussed what kind of qualities she would want to see in the new chancellor. 

“I think it’s important that they’re very well educated, and they understand the problems that CSUs could be having, and they actually can think of ways to improve the school system,” Brunswick said. 

According to Uhlenkamp, “There’s a general idea that we’re going to have someone that’s served in a leadership role… but the candidates come from all walks of life, so I think that’s why these forums are really so important.” 

CSUB students, faculty, staff and community members can attend the in-person forum or register to attend the Zoom at https://www.calstate.edu/csu-system/chancellor/chancellor-search/Pages/chancellor-search-open-forum-February-8-2023.aspx