Former Western Carolina University Chancellor John W. Bardo will take over the helm of president of Wichita State University in Kansas on July 1.
Bardo, WCU chancellor from 1996 to 2011, announced in October 2010 that he would be stepping down from the position June 30, 2011, and begin a year of research leave before taking a faculty position in the College of Education and Allied Professions.
The fact that Bardo continued to draw his full salary as chancellor during the year of research leave and then landed the president’s job at another institution has sparked a high level of media interest and discussion on campus, including some suggesting he should be required to repay the salary earned while on research leave.
Because Bardo became WCU chancellor in 1995, he is covered by a University of North Carolina system policy on the administrative separation of chancellors that was adopted by the UNC Board of Governors in 2005. That earlier policy did not require the repayment of research leave if a departing chancellor elected to take a job elsewhere before returning to the classroom, said Joni Worthington, vice president for communications for the UNC system. The policy was put into place to make UNC campuses more competitive with universities in other states.
The Board of Governors modified its policies in January 2010. Under the revised policy, which applies to individuals who were hired into their administrative position on or after Jan. 8, 2010, the president of the UNC system is authorized, at his or her discretion, to require repayment of compensation paid during the leave period in the event that a chancellor does not assume a faculty position as anticipated.
Bardo will earn $330,000 per year in salary as the incoming president of Wichita State University, according to The Wichita Eagle. (Read the full story here.)