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Monday, June 12, 2006

WSSU's Martin taking new UNC job

The University of North Carolina board of governors approved the appointment of Harold Martin yesterday as the top academic officer for the 16-campus UNC system.

Martin, the chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, is scheduled to start the new job July 17.

Martin's title will be senior vice president for academic affairs. He will assist Bowles and the board of governors on policy, and he will advise leaders of the state's 16 public universities.

Among his priorities, he said, will be making higher education more accessible, increasing graduation rates and improving the faculty at each university. He gave few specifics but said that he would be guided by forthcoming reviews of each university's mission.

"I think it will be a nonconfrontational kind of debate that will force each chancellor and board of trustees to look at not only the needs of their region but also at the strengths of each institution," said Martin, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Bowles, who does not have a doctorate, said he would look to Martin for leadership on shaping the priorities for each university.

"He will stand side-by-side with me," Bowles said.

Martin, who became chancellor in January 2000, said that an interim chancellor for Winston-Salem State could be named in as soon as three weeks. The person would likely come from within the UNC system, he said.

"We are narrowing the discussion," he said.

Kevin Myatt, the chairman of the WSSU board of trustees, said he did not know when a permanent chancellor might be chosen. But he said that Martin would leave the university in a strong position for his successor.

"When an architect comes in and designs a building, the building remains standing even when the architect leaves. That is what is happening here," Myatt said. "Winston-Salem State is on a roll, and that roll will continue."

Enrollment at Winston-Salem State was slightly under 3,000 students when Martin arrived, and it is expected to reach 6,300 this fall. The school is also making the transition to a Division I athletics program, and it is in the midst of a $35 million fundraising campaign.

WSSU expects at least 100 to 150 applicants for the Chancellors job.

"Harold has left the school in the best shape - financially, academically - that it's ever been in. Ever," Davis said. "What that's going to allow us to do is bring in a top-flight new chancellor."

Martin said he was tempted by the open chancellor's job at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees and held several academic and administrative positions, and by the idea of staying at Winston-Salem State.

"While they were all exceptional opportunities," he said, "I felt honestly that ... the senior vice presidency and the opportunity to work with Erskine provide just exceptional opportunities to me and the chance to have a broader impact."

A native of Winston-Salem, Martin has been active in the community as a board member for several groups. He has also been chairman of a task force on community health-care access.

Martin, 54, said he's still figuring out how his new position will affect his community involvement. He said he knows that he won't have time for some things - such as the presidency of the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem, which he was scheduled to assume July 1 - but that he would continue to be involved in less demanding roles.

The UNC system will take priority, he said.

"To compromise on those important responsibilities would be difficult," Martin said.

Martin's salary will be $290,000 his first year. His current salary is $199,993.

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