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Interim chancellor on Nevada Board of Regents agenda

The Board of Regents could appoint a new interim chancellor at its meeting Tuesday after failing in June to hire someone permanently, and following a yearslong stream of chancellors coming and going from the position.

That person could be Patricia “Patty” Charlton, the Nevada System of Higher Education’s acting vice chancellor of academic and student affairs who was named “officer in charge” at the beginning of August after Acting Chancellor Dale Erquiaga retired.

Charlton, who previously served as vice president and provost of the Henderson campus of College of Southern Nevada, would oversee the state’s public higher education system, which has eight schools and about 100,000 students.

If the Board of Regents appoints her to the interim chancellor position, she would be offered a salary of $378,198 a year, as well as a yearly $8,000 car allowance and a $12,000 housing allowance, according to the proposed terms and employment agreement.

The board could choose a one-year interim appointment, or it could decide that Charlton would remain interim chancellor while a search is underway, according to the meeting agenda.

The process to select a new chancellor after Chancellor Melody Rose resigned in April 2022 with a $610,000 severance after only 19 months into a four-year contract has been a complex one. She was the third chancellor to depart the higher education system in five years.

Members of the ad hoc committee selected to hire a new chancellor had expressed concerns in June that the three candidates — Charles Ansell, Lawrence Drake II and Kate Marshall — did not have enough experience in higher education. Some expressed a desire to see an internal candidate move up the ranks.

At the end of June, the board failed to hire Drake and voted unanimously to discontinue the search and pursue hiring an interim chancellor instead.

“I’m kind of shocked with this nationwide search that we didn’t have people that had, you know, as much experience,” said Regent Michelee “Shelly” Cruz-Crawford during a June 30 meeting. “I also would love to see someone within the organization, because of the complexities of the system, apply.”

‘The ideal candidate’

Thom Reilly, who served as chancellor from 2017 to 2020, said that because the position is so unique, the ideal candidate needs a background in higher education and human resources, as well as experience working with elected boards.

The chancellor also should serve as the buffer between the regents and the presidents, and they should be in constant contact with the regents to move policy forward to ensure presidents can spend their time running their institutions, Reilly said.

Going forward in the search process, Reilly said it is important to hire a firm with experience in higher education, as well, “so they can identify candidates that bring that unique mix of those that can work in the political world but also have a deeper understanding of the academic world.”

Reilly had experience in Arizona’s higher education system, as well as in public office when he served as Clark County manager.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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