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UC President Janet Napolitano announced on August 9, 2016, that she would immediately form a search committee and conduct a national search for a new chancellor to lead UC Davis. Ralph J. Hexter has continued in his role leading the campus during the pendency of that search.

The University of California Office of the President conducted the global search for Davis's next chancellor. Per Board of Regents policy, an advisory committee consisting of faculty from Davis and the rest of the University, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, Regents, and UC Davis Foundation representatives was involved in recruiting, screening, and conducting interviews with candidates for the position. The committee worked throughout the fall with the aim of presenting a new chancellor to the Board of Regents for their approval in early 2017.

The search for UC Davis's next chancellor was assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Search details and timeline

On Sept. 27, the search advisory committee for the next chancellor of UC Davis convened for the first time. The search advisory committee included members representing faculty, students, staff, alumni, the campus foundation and regents. The committee’s first meeting was Campus Day, where the committee heard presentations from a wide range of campus constituencies, including faculty, students and staff. In addition to Campus Day, UC Davis representatives on the committee hosted a series of town halls on Tuesday, Oct. 11, to provide additional opportunities for input into the search advisory committee’s work.

The position was advertised nationally to raise awareness about the search. The president also sent out requests for nominations to her counterparts in other leading universities and has invited the other UC chancellors to submit nominations. There was no closing date for applications or nominations, and the search advisory committee accepted both until the position was filled.

Informed by the various learning sessions with campus constituencies, the committee developed a position profile for the chancellor role, available here, which is a public document intended to frame the opportunities and challenges facing the next chancellor, as well as the desired experiences and qualifications of potential candidates. The committee, led by the five-member faculty subcommittee, used the input they received during Campus Day and the position profile to begin identifying and vetting a longer list of potential candidates for review and discussion, in addition to reviewing all individuals nominated and those who have applied. During a series of meetings, with assistance from the committee’s search consultants, the group narrowed the list to a series of semifinalist candidates to be interviewed by the full committee. Those interviews occurred over several days and featured questions from all members of the committee, rooted not only in the description found in the position profile, but also the candidates’ own professional histories.

Following those interviews, the search advisory committee provided the president with its input on the qualifications of the semifinalists and recommendations on which candidates should continue to be considered. Based on that input, the president continued her due diligence, reviewing a thorough set of references and background checks completed by the search firm, as well as performing her own reference checks. The president made her final recommendation to the Board of Regents on [DATE NEEDED HERE].