CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The search is officially on for a new interim chancellor for the state Higher Education Policy Commission.

Commission members accepted the resignation of interim Chancellor Carolyn Long in a Friday morning meeting in Charleston. It takes effect May 15.

Carolyn Long

Long is headed back to her prior position as president of West Virginia University Tech Beckley in time for the institution’s commence ceremonies for the spring.

The HEPC has decided to go the route of hiring another interim chancellor instead of a permanent chancellor because the Blue Ribbon panel on the future of higher education has yet to finish its work.

HEPC Chairman Mike Farrell said hiring a permanent chancellor would be unfair to the person chosen.

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Mike Farrell

“Opportunity for a permanent chancellorship should be one that is fairly firm,” Farrell said Friday. “I think that study group (Blue Ribbon panel) will tell us what the structure is going to be. The candidates for that permanent position will then have an opportunity to assess whether he or she wants this job.

“I think it would be presumptuous and premature for this body to go out and try to hire a permanent chancellor when that permanent chancellor doesn’t know how long that permanent position will be.”

Farrell added that the commission also needs to wait to see what a legislature study on higher education produces.

“Once the study group concludes its deliberations and announces its findings and or bills proposed during the interims, I think we will all have a better idea of what this whole situation looks like,” he said.

Farrell is a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission but doesn’t know when it will meet again.

“I would personally believe the legislature and its study group may supplant what the Blue Ribbon Commission was doing,” he said.

“I am not going to be presumptuous as to the co-chairs and the governor and what they want to do.”

The search for the interim position begins immediately. Farrell said Friday the commission will end the search April 10 and will likely have an offer for someone at the next regular meeting scheduled for April 26.

Farrell expects the salary for the interim position to be where it’s been, approximately $227,000 a year.