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What is the timeframe for the chancellor selection process?

UC President Janet Napolitano announced on May 13, 2019,  that she would immediately form a search committee and conduct a global search for a new chancellor to lead UC Merced.

Selecting the next chancellor for UC Merced is a critically important endeavor. The entire process will take several months and is anticipated to conclude by Spring 2020. While time is a factor, ultimately the most important goal is to find the right individual to lead UC Merced. In the meantime, University of California Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom will lead the campus as interim chancellor.

Who will select the next chancellor? Who makes the final decision?

On July 29, 2019, UC President Janet Napolitano announced the formation of a search advisory committee of university faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation representatives and Regents to help in the international search for a new chancellor to lead UC Merced.

Per Regents policy, the search advisory committee has been charged with advising the President during the chancellor selection process, working through a several month endeavor of listening to input from the community, considering potential candidates, and sharing feedback and evaluations with the President. After the committee has completed its evaluations of prospective candidates, including interviews, and advised the President on recommended finalists, she will make her recommendation to the Regents for their consideration and approval.

How is the membership of the search advisory committee determined?

Consistent with Regents policy, a search advisory committee consisting of faculty from UC Merced and the rest of the University of California, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, Regents, and UC Merced Foundation representatives are named as members of the search advisory committee. 

Is there broad representation on the search advisory committee?

Yes. The search advisory committee consists of:

  • Five Regents, as well as the Chairman of the Board and the President of the University, who serve ex-officio;
  • Five faculty – one being either the Chair or Vice Chair of the systemwide Academic Senate; one being a faculty member from a campus other than the one that is the subject of the search, chosen from a panel submitted by the Academic Senate’s Universitywide Committee on Committees; and three campus faculty members chosen from a panel submitted by the campus Academic Senate Committee on Committees;
  • One graduate and one undergraduate student appointed by the respective graduate and undergraduate student associations of the campus;
  • One alumni representative appointed by the alumni association of the campus;
  • One Foundation representative chosen by the President from a panel of names submitted by the Foundation; and
  • One staff employee representative of the campus selected by the Staff Advisory Board

All members of the advisory committee are invited to attend all meetings of the committee and encouraged to fully participate in discussion and debate.

What is the role of the search advisory committee?

The search advisory committee will be involved in recruiting, screening, and conducting interviews with candidates for the position. The committee participate in Campus Day, Town Halls, and listening sessions to garner constituent feedback and broad understanding of the needs and requirements for this Chancellor. They consider criteria and outreach strategy, and work together with the President – building on the initial review of the faculty subcommittee (see FAQ: What is the role of the faculty subcommittee?) – to identify a pool of semifinalist candidates. The search advisory committee will interview these semifinalists in person, then provide feedback to the President including a recommendation of finalists.

What is the role of the faculty subcommittee?

The five faculty members who serve on the search advisory committee also serve in the search process as members of the faculty subcommittee. The faculty subcommittee participate in Campus Day, Town Halls, and listening sessions to garner constituent feedback and broad understanding of the needs and requirements for this Chancellor. They work to define criteria and outreach strategy, with advisement from the full search advisory committee.

The faculty subcommittee do much of the initial vetting of prospective candidates, reviewing the biographies and backgrounds of more than 500 potential candidates over the course of the search. The faculty subcommittee presents its findings to the search advisory committee for the full committee’s consideration. Following discussion and deliberation, as well as further opportunity to review biographies and backgrounds, the full committee decides who should move forward in the process.

How will the UC Merced community be informed about the progress of the selection process?

The chancellor search website serves as the official, central hub of news and information related to the selection process. Periodic updates about the search will be posted on the website as they are available.

Will there opportunities for input from the UC Merced community?

Absolutely. On September 24, 2019, the search advisory committee will convene for the first time. The committee’s first meeting is Campus Day, where the committee hears presentations from a wide range of campus constituencies, including faculty, students and staff.

In addition to Campus Day, several town hall sessions will be held on campus on October 2, 2019, to provide additional opportunities for input into the search advisory committee’s work. During those sessions, members of the selection committee and the faculty subcommittee receive input from students, faculty and staff.

How are prospective candidates identified?

The faculty subcommittee will review the backgrounds of more than 500 individuals over the course of the search and will present those individuals to the full search advisory committee for its consideration. These prospective candidates emerge in a number of ways:


If you are interested in nominating a potential candidate, please submit their name to


An advertisement announcing the role will be posted online at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Jobs, Hispanic Outlook, Women in Higher Education, Insight into Diversity, Vet Jobs, and the search firm website.

Research strategy.

With assistance for the search firm, the search advisory committee utilizes a robust research strategy to identify qualified individuals. The research strategy includes: chancellors/presidents and provosts at AAU institutions, flagship state universities, top ranked national and public universities, top ranked international universities, and top Hispanic and African-American degree producing universities; deans of business, education, engineering, environment/ecology, information, journalism, law, letters & science, public health, public policy, and social at top ranked national and public universities; civic leaders at the federal and state level; and chief executives of large foundations and non-profits.

Can I nominate a candidate?

Absolutely. The President and the search advisory committee strongly encourages all members of the UC Merced community to nominate individuals, whether from the campus, the UC, or from across the globe. Nominations should be submitted via email to All nominations will be considered by the faculty subcommittee and the full search advisory committee.

Who makes decisions about which candidates to move forward?

The search advisory committee and the President will work together to identify a pool of semifinalist candidates. These individuals will be interviewed in person by the search advisory committee. Following the interviews, the search advisory committee will provide feedback to the President about each of the semifinalists and each member will recommend a subset of finalists to the President. From the pool of candidates interviewed and evaluated by the search advisory committee, the President will make a final recommendation for the Board of Regents’ consideration after reviewing background checks, conducting reference calls, and initiating and reviewing the on-list and off-list references.

A final recommendation will be made to the Board of Regents by the President in Spring 2020.

When will we know who the potential candidates are?

This is a confidential search, so the names of candidates will be known only to the search committee. The preferred candidate will be selected and announced by UC President Janet Napolitano and approved by the UC Board of Regents. This process is consistent with Board of Regents policy, but it is also designed to produce the very best outcome for the campus.

It is a common national practice to preserve the confidentiality of candidates during Chancellor or President searches for colleges and universities. For many prospective candidates, particularly sitting Chancellors and Presidents at other institutions, participating in a process that is not confidential would put their professional standing at risk. As a result, many such candidates will simply not participate in a process that does not preserve the confidentiality of their candidacy. By maintaining a confidential search process, UC ensures it can successfully engage the largest and most diverse set of candidates and maximizes its competitive position among other similar searches that may be occurring nationally.

To provide UC Merced community members with information about the wide-range of candidates that are being considered by the search advisory committee, an overview of the demographic characteristics of the candidates that committee have been reviewed as part of the search process, which maintains individual candidate anonymity, has been provided on the website. This information will be updated throughout the search process.

Has a search firm been selected?

Yes. The search will be assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson Miller, a national firm with considerable experience in university chancellor and presidential searches. Isaacson, Miller has consulted with the UC on numerous executive searches over the past several years, including chancellor searches for Berkeley, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Irvine.

What is the role of the search firm?

The search firm serves as staff to the search advisory committee and plays no role in deciding what candidates should move forward in their search process. Their role is to help identify potential candidates; reach out to potential candidates to determine interest (with permission from the search advisory committee); to conduct research and due diligence on candidates; and to help facilitate the work of the search advisory committee, including posting advertisements, preparing materials, and assisting with meeting logistics.

Isaacson Miller is an employee-owned executive search firm dedicated to serving non-profit and mission driven organizations. The firm works closely with colleges and universities, foundations, human service agencies, research institutes, academic medical centers, arts and cultural groups, conservation and environmental organizations, and social justice and advocacy organizations. The firm is conducting this search for a fixed fee. 

What if I have questions about the chancellor selection process?

Anyone who has questions is encouraged to contact the search advisory committee at