Presidential Leadership Statement - Coastal Carolina University
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Presidential Leadership Statement


With the announced retirement of President David DeCenzo, who has successfully led the University since 2007, the Board of Trustees of Coastal Carolina University (CCU), located in Conway, SC, invites nominations and applications for the appointment of President. Coastal Carolina University is on an upward trajectory and at a pivotal point in its history. This position offers a unique opportunity to transform the University by building upon its growth and momentum, and by developing, articulating, and executing a shared vision for CCU.

Coastal Carolina University

Founded in 1954 as Coastal Carolina Junior College with 53 students who were taught after hours in Conway High School, CCU has developed into a premier regional comprehensive university with nationally and internationally recognized teacher-scholars dedicated to student learning and achievement. Located just minutes from the resort area of Myrtle Beach, S.C., CCU’s campus now comprises 115 buildings on 621 acres, including the Coastal Science Center, the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, and the General James Hackler Golf Course. A 1,105-acre tract of pristine barrier island on the Atlantic coast provides a natural laboratory for extensive study in marine science and wetland biology.

CCU is an exciting, ever-changing place in which students can learn, grow, socialize, and become part of something bigger than themselves. With more than 190 student clubs and organizations to join, there is no shortage of ways for students to get involved on campus and in the community. The current student body enrollment is more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 47 states and 61 different countries. The University has 514 full-time teaching faculty, 756 staff members, and has an annual budget of approximately $245 million.


Coastal Carolina University is a public comprehensive liberal arts institution that seeks to develop students who are both knowledgeable in their chosen fields and prepared to be productive, responsible, healthy citizens with a global perspective. To deliver on this commitment, Coastal Carolina recruits highly qualified and motivated students, faculty, and staff from the region, state, nation, and world to create a diverse and dynamic student-centered learning environment.

Because Coastal Carolina embraces the teacher-scholar model, it places primary emphasis on high-quality teaching and engaged learning, and it supports faculty research, creative activities, and expert collaboration in the community, state, nation, and world. This focus enables faculty and staff to mentor students in collaborative research, creative opportunities, and internships. To nurture this active learning community, Coastal Carolina maintains a broad range of contemporary technologies, programming, support services, and innovative course offerings and delivery methods. The result is alumni who are well prepared for professional careers or graduate programs in their chosen fields and who continue to be connected to Coastal Carolina.

Inspired by its founding in 1954 to serve the educational needs of the region, Coastal Carolina has a tradition of a strong liberal arts core. As such, Coastal Carolina commits its resources to building undergraduate and graduate degree programs of national and/or regional significance in the arts and sciences, business, humanities, education, and health and human services. Coastal Carolina fully embraces its leadership role as a regional center of economic and intellectual resources, lifelong learning, cultural and recreational opportunities, and athletic programs.

As Coastal Carolina executes this mission, it recognizes its responsibility to be a role model to the community by assuring fair and honest treatment of people with whom it interacts and sustainable stewardship of resources entrusted to it; adopting the highest standards of integrity and accountability; and in committing itself to excellence through continuous assessment and improvement.


CCU offers 84 areas of study toward the baccalaureate degree, 26 master’s degree programs, two educational specialist degrees, and two Ph.D. programs through its six colleges: Wall College of Business; Spadoni College of Education; Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Gupta College of Science; HTC Honors College; and College of Graduate Studies and Research. In 2018, the average class size was 23 students and the average student-to-faculty ratio was 16 to 1.


Coastal Carolina University competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The student-athletes at CCU succeed in the classroom, play hard, and compete nationally in 11 women’s and eight men’s athletics programs. The University’s mascot is the Chanticleer, named for the quick-thinking rooster from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The Chanticleers have made 137 NCAA championship appearances, including winning the 2016 College World Series.


The Coastal Carolina University Board of Trustees is by state statute responsible for overseeing the effective governance of the University. The 17-person Board of Trustees is elected by the South Carolina State General Assembly with the exception of two seats appointed by the governor of South Carolina. The University administration formally meets with the Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis with additional meetings as needed to discuss special circumstances.


Coastal Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees.

In addition, CCU has attained additional accreditations in their colleges:

Wall College of Business Administration
  • AACSB International-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • PGA-Professional Golfers’ Association of America
Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts
  • NASAD-National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • NASM-National Association of Schools of Music
  • NAST-National Association of Schools of Theatre
Spadoni College of Education
  • NCATE-National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Approved by the S.C. Department of Education
Gupta College of Science
  • ABET-Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
  • ACEN-Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • CEPH-Council on Education for Public Health

Horry County Higher Education Commission

The Horry County Higher Education Commission (HCHEC) was formed in 1959 by the South Carolina General Assembly to oversee the use of county tax millage for Coastal Carolina. Today, there are 16 members of the commission who are appointed by the Governor of South Carolina and recommended by the Horry County Legislative Delegation to represent Horry County.

The HCHEC offers numerous scholarship opportunities to Horry County high school graduates who choose to attend Coastal Carolina University. Most of the scholarships are application-based, and selection criteria include the review of one or more of the following: high school scholastic performance, volunteerism and contribution to the local community, talent in the visual and performing arts, and/or academic progress at Coastal Carolina University.

Responsibilities of the President

The new president should become personally vested in the future of Coastal Carolina University, raise the profile of the institution, and carry its message throughout the state of South Carolina and beyond. The president will be a leader who understands and values the academy and has the experience and skills to reach out to the external and internal community to build relationships, garner and provide resources, and form collaborative partnerships. The president must listen openly and objectively to the opinions of others, appreciate difference of opinion, and be firm in reaching decisions. Further, the president must be collaborative, consultative, and transparent in decision-making processes. The president provides innovative and visionary leadership in academic, fiscal, administrative, and professional matters, relative to all faculty, staff, and students at the University.

It is important that the president be able to:

  • Increase public recognition and support for the University as a contributor to the vitality and well-being of the region and the state.
  • Lead fundraising initiatives and create, sustain, and build relationships with multiple and diverse external constituencies.
  • Support and advocate for the Office of Admissions to increase and strengthen recruitment, retention, and degree completion rates at the University.
  • Promote a culturally aware and welcoming environment with a strong commitment to recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  • Provide visionary leadership to inspire, motivate, and support faculty and staff.
  • Strengthen the relationships between the University community and residents of Conway, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, and surrounding communities, while being a visible and accessible leader in Conway itself.
  • Interface and maintain strong relationships with the Horry County Higher Education Commission and the Horry County Council.
  • Sustain and further support the excellence of the teaching faculty.
  • Understand the needs of students in a residential setting while promoting opportunities and activities for their personal and academic growth.
  • Engage and connect with alumni.
  • Endorse and build upon CCU’s student-centered focus and create an atmosphere conducive to a positive student experience that supports their health and well-being with high visibility within the campus community.
  • Understand and support the role of CCU’s athletic programs and how they can enhance fundraising, the total student experience, and alumni engagement without compromising an exceptional educational experience.
  • Compare the institution’s budgetary obligations with economic reality and develop a solid strategic plan that embraces those realities.
  • Serve as a highly strategic partner to faculty and staff in developing new graduate and online learning initiatives.
  • Establish priorities for investing in current, as well as new, academic programs across all disciplines.

Leadership and Personal Qualities

Building on the success of the past, the University is seeking a dynamic president with demonstrated leadership and change management skills. The president should have a bold and entrepreneurial leadership approach. The president must be a person of unquestioned integrity and depth of character. The president must have a thorough understanding of the changing nature of higher education, including its vital role in local, state, national, and global economies. In addition, the president should have a willingness to commit to the region and provide leadership to its vitality. As the primary spokesperson for the institution, the new president must have effective communication and public relation skills. Candidates should have proven success in fundraising. A diverse knowledge and appreciation for the liberal arts and professional degrees is essential, as well as a strong desire to work openly with the faculty and staff to ensure continued academic excellence in an environment of shared governance. Candidates should demonstrate evidence of engagement in initiatives and projects that foster diversity for faculty, staff, and students.

Procedures for Candidacy

Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experience matches the position requirements and a current curriculum vitae.

Applications, nominations, and inquiries of interest may be sent in confidence to the University’s executive recruitment consultants:

Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner
Chelsie Whitelock, Principal
10 Cadillac Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027