Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a series of conversations with Dr. Randy Woodson, who was named NC State Chancellor on Friday, Jan. 8. Woodson comes to NC State from Purdue University, where he served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Dave Pond, University Communications: What will be your top priority as chancellor at NC State?
NC State chancellor-elect Randy Woodson: To be a great chancellor, you’ve got to have a great team, and I know and respect a lot of the leadership that’s here at this institution. There are some key interim positions that need to be filled. Chancellor Woodward is managing some of that. The provost position is a critical one – certainly, the interim provost is doing an outstanding job, but there will be an expectation that we open a search to have that position permanently filled. There are some other leadership changes that are occurring in alumni and elsewhere that Chancellor Woodward and his staff are involved in as well. Getting all of the leadership team pointed in the same direction will be my highest priority early on.
DP: How do you plan to build relationships with NC State faculty and staff members as you prepare to take office?
RW: One of the things you have to be very careful of as chancellor is not to get in the way of the provost. But, I can tell you what I would expect to do – and this will be particularly important early in my tenure – is to visit each of the various Colleges and to spend a significant amount of time getting to know their faculty and students, getting to know what the goals of each College are, as well as their strengths and the challenges they face. I would expect to do that with each College at least once a year.
DP: You plan to begin work at NC State no later than May 1, 2010. What do you expect to do during your early days on campus?
RW: I think the most critical thing during a transition like this – particularly when you are coming from outside, as I am – is that you don’t assume you understand the culture of the institution. So, you need to spend time getting to know the leadership team and getting to know how the institution functions, how it comes to decisions and how it operates.
The people of North Carolina feel very strongly about this institution, and I need to get out across the entire state and represent the university to the broader community.
DP: How will you spend the time between now and then?
RW: I want to be sensitive in giving my current employer the best of my time and talents, and the primary reason the president at Purdue has asked me to stay a little longer is to complete a few things that we’ve started. I plan to stay in close contact with Jim Woodward, and I’ll definitely make frequent trips back to NC State’s campus between now and my official start date, taking vacation at Purdue. So, my guess is I’ll be on campus here once or twice a month during the transition, while remaining in constant contact with the staff here throughout the weeks ahead.