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Purdue provost choice for N.C. State chancellor

Posted January 7, 2010

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— University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles said Thursday he will nominate the provost of Purdue University to become the next chancellor of North Carolina State University.

Bowles made a presentation Thursday about the next chancellor to the personnel committee of the UNC Board of Governors. He was expected to recommend his choice to the full board on Friday.

New N.C. State chancellor graphic Likely chancellor brings research, people skills

The Board of Governors must approve the selection before it is official.

William “Randy” Woodson has served as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind., since May 2008. Like N.C. State, Purdue is a public, land-grant university known for its engineering and agricultural sciences schools.

According to Woodson's profile on the Purdue Web site, his duties as provost include "oversight of all Purdue colleges and schools and related academic activities."

He has held several positions at Purdue since 1985, starting as a respected researcher and teacher in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. He served as director of agricultural research from 1998 to 2004, when he was named dean of Purdue Agriculture.

"(Woodson is) the kind of person that has the people skills, the scientific background (and) the academic background," said George Wilson, a professor of horticulture science at N.C. State who has known Woodson for many years. "(He's a) big-picture kind of guy."

Purdue professor Michael Dana said his longtime colleague's success is based on science but propelled by people skills.

"He was so talented. He got along with people. He was able to work with the kind of people you find in academia, which are often strong-willed people who think they know the answer," Dana said in a telephone interview.

Chancellor James Oblinger resigned from N.C. State in June amid questions over his role in hiring then-first lady Mary Easley in 2005 and questions about a lucrative payout he arranged for N.C. State's former provost, who also resigned over the Easley flap.

James Woodward, the retired chancellor of UNC-Charlotte, has served as N.C. State's chancellor in recent months.

Last month, N.C. State's Board of Trustees submitted the names of three finalists a search committee recommended for the chancellor post to Bowles. The names of the three finalists haven't been released.

"I think Dr. Woodson is the kind of person that would be a chancellor to engage all of those diverse individuals (and) groups and represent us well," Wilson said. "I think we need a steady hand. ... Somebody that has the breadth and depth and capacity to be able to make N.C. State everything that it can be."


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  • Hans Jan 8, 2010

    "Would Erskine Bowles intentionally pick someone inadequate?"

    Of course not. It's just paranoia from UNC obsessed Staters.

  • Scrat Jan 8, 2010

    Funny how most people think UNC is an elitist university, but most of the poor farm kids end up at UNC, not NCSU. must be that whole Chapel Hill thing.

  • archmaker Jan 8, 2010

    -Is Woodward not a candidate? He has been most impressive in his few months here. Maybe he really does want to retire.-

    He had retired from Charlotte quite a few years ago, so I seriously doubt he even wanted the hassel. He took Charlotte from a small system school to the 4th largest in the state. He isn't what NCSU needs for the future, but was exactly what it needed at the moment - someone to provide stablity, leadership, and to keep its administration out of the news for doing bad things!

  • Valkyrie Jan 8, 2010

    Would Erskine Bowles intentionally pick someone inadequate? His job performance is directly tied to all NC public universities.

    I hope Woodson is a good fit for NCSU and does his job well.

  • meeper Jan 7, 2010

    Gee,I wonder what the chances are that this guy is a right winger if he was nominated by Bowles??

  • Eduardo1 Jan 7, 2010

    WHY! With all of the Newsworthy articles, this was the featured HEADLINE on the front page of the News Observer when I went
    out in to the BITTER cold to pick up my paper this morning
    Is this THE hottest news article out there??????
    Unemployment NO! - Detroit Terrorist NO!-War in Iraq & Afghanistan & Iraq NO, Iran Saber rattling NO, Whats happened to FT Hood Terrorist, etc, etc, etc

  • Hans Jan 7, 2010

    "That was a pretty good response Hans. Did someone from NCSU help you with it?"

    As a matter of fact, yes - Me. Now, look - I'm not bashing State here, I'm just assessing things realistically.

    "best Public Value College "

    Good grief.

    "To say that NCSU's reputation is less than UNC's academic reputation is blatantly ignorant"

    I believe you meant to use the word "accurate".

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jan 7, 2010

    That was a pretty good response Hans. Did someone from NCSU help you with it?

  • 82ndWolfpack Jan 7, 2010

    Hans and many like him further the typical UNC smug (but never attended college there) attitude that gives UNC fans such a bad reputation. Because USNWR (a rag that uses statistics such as peer reputation and endowment size as a measuring device for student learning!) says that UNC is higher ranked than NCSU "it will never come close to touching UNC's reputation"? Well I counter with Princeton review that states NC State is the 6th best Public Value College and one of the best in the Southeast (http://www.princetonreview.com/NorthCarolinaStateUniversity.aspx)

    Where as UNC is not even mentioned as a best value college! (http://www.princetonreview.com/UniversityofNorthCarolinaatChapelHill.aspx)

    The point I am making here is that both schools are excellent at their respective historical strength disciplines. To say that NCSU's reputation is less than UNC's academic reputation is blatantly ignorant, especially without declaring a comparable discipline!

  • Hans Jan 7, 2010

    They are probably just trying to make you feel better. UNC grads tend to be nice people.