Group OK’d to help in Nevada System of Higher Education chancellor search

A committee assigned to find a new chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education on Tuesday approved a working group to help interview semifinalists for the job.

The need to maintain confidentiality for applicants to the high-level position was discussed at the meeting and led to the creation of the working group, composed of Jane Nichols, a former chancellor; Carol Harter, former University of Nevada, Las Vegas president; John Etchemendy, Stanford University provost and a University of Nevada, Reno graduate; and Nancy Brune, chairwoman of the Institutional Advisory Council at the College of Southern Nevada. Board of Regents Chairman Rick Trachok will also be involved.

“We can’t have regents in that role because of open meeting law concerns,” said Dean Gould, chief of staff and special counsel to the Board of Regents. “We’re really trying to create a situation where, when these candidates come to all of you at the end — at finalist interviews — you will come to the table with an equal amount of knowledge. We wanted a group that was truly independent but well entrenched and well experienced in this kind of situation.”

Although the working group will help with interviews, AGB Search of Washington, D.C., will take the lead in finding a new chancellor. Law professor and former UNLV administrator John Valery White is holding the chancellor’s job temporarily.

The first round of applications will be accepted from Jan. 9 through March 1.

“That gives us about seven weeks … to do the important initial work — to get the best possible people into the pool,” AGB Search Senior Fellow Kevin Reilly said.

The higher-education focused firm was hired for $100,000 and chosen from 14 applications submitted by the Nov. 3 deadline. Travel costs for firm consultants and the interviewees aren’t included, but Gould hopes those costs won’t exceed $25,000.

Under AGB’s search timeline, semifinalists will be interviewed March 27-28. In mid-to-late April, finalists will be recommended to the committee, which will interview the finalists and make a recommendation to the board. The new chancellor should be appointed at a special meeting of the full board in late April.

Besides leading the search for the chancellor, AGB will also be available for a year to help the new hire transition into the job.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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