WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- UNCW is gearing up for what's expected to be a long and tedious journey. Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo is leaving the university, and now it's time to start the search for a new chancellor.
The actual search has not begun yet but the search committee is doing everything in it's power to get input from the community on who is the best candidate to head up the university.
People on the UNCW chancellor search committee know they're going to have their hands full. Committee members asked for help from the community. Folks who turned out Wednesday night weren't afraid to voice their opinions at an open forum. One of the most talked about topics was the athletics program.
"Although Ph.D.'s and certain grants and everything are certainly more important at an academic institution but they don't get the ink that puts a good light on the school," said Jim Ballantine, who is the former Seahawks Club President.
Many say a good chancellor for the university will devote time and energy to maintaining and improving the athletics program, but money's on the line. A big chunk of funding comes from sports. Others worry there's a lack of diversity at the school. Search committee chair Wendy Murphy says diversifying UNCW is something they can and will improve on.
"You can't just talk it and that is what several people said tonight," said Murphy. "They want someone who has actually made improvement in diversity."
The committee says having a reputable and reliable chancellor all comes at a cost. Chancellor DePaulo currently makes six figures and it's a number that doesn't sit well with some people."
"It really got under my skin and I'm not sure why I just didn't feel like $300,000 dollars was appropriate and I'm not sure of all the duties and tasks that she's required to do as chancellor but I feel like in comparison to the professors salaries that it did not compare," said UNCW graduate Danielle Cray.
Murphy says the university has no intention of changing the salary for the new chancellor and when it comes down to it you get what you pay for.
"I would agree that faculty and staff can always be paid more," said Murphy. "I think we can all agree on that but at the end of the day the candidate for chancellor we got to be competitive in the workforce and we're going to have to pay what's competitive to get the right candidate."
The Parker Executive Search Firm is heading up the quest to find a new chancellor. The search firm spent the day touring UNCW and getting a grasp on what kind of person will make a perfect fit. The search committee is hoping to post the job in the next few weeks.