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Bowles appoints former provost Charles Jenkins as interim chancellor
When Dr. Allen C. Meadors, who had been chancellor at UNCP for 10 years, left over the summer to become the president of Central Arkansas University in Conway, Ark., a temporary replacement had to be found in order for a search committee to be appointed to begin the quest for hiring a new chancellor.
University of North Carolina System President Erskine Bowles turned to a familiar face around UNCP, Dr. Charles Jenkins, to serve as interim chancellor for one year.
“When I came in on July 1, I was able to help the institution move forward,” Chancellor Jenkins said.
He is no stranger to UNCP. In fact, when December rolls around, Chancellor Jenkins will have been an employee of UNCP for 39 years.
“I’ve had a lot of administrative experience and teaching,” he said. “I served as provost for 14 years, and as director of admissions.”
Although the title of chancellor holds a lot of prestige and power, he has a way of dealing with it.
“The focus is not on me as chancellor; it’s on the faculty and staff,” Chancellor Jenkins said.
When Gov. Bev Perdue ordered institutions within the UNC-system to take a 10.5 percent budget cut with reversions this year, Chancellor Jenkins is now at the center of one of the biggest budget crunches in the history of the state.
“This is not the year that we are going to take the attitude of we’re not going to do anything,” he said. “It’s not going to significantly affect the teaching and quality of learning.”
Dr. Jenkins held three town hall meetings for the sole purpose of identifying the budget and answering questions from audience members.
Upon becoming interim chancellor, Dr. Jenkins said that he preferred to remain living in his home in Laurinburg, where he has resided for 40 years, rather than occupy the chancellor’s residence oncampus for a year.
“I want to save the University some money,” he said. “We will be entertaining students, faculty and alumni in the chancellor’s residence.”
Chancellor Jenkins said that his attention was on student retention and graduation rates. When asked about spending for extracurricular events, he said that although he sees these as enriching experiences, there may be some cut backs in order to accommodate the massive budget cuts.
“We may have to pull back one program from each of the three series [at GPAC],” Chancellor Jenkins said. “We can’t ignore cost and cost effectiveness.”
He said that he had received a warm welcome from UNCP as he took the helm of his new post and is “looking forward to all of it.”
“I enjoy students. I am still teaching a course on Monday and Wednesday. It’s a great privilege,” he added.