(a) The commission, created by section one of this article, shall employ a Chancellor for Higher Education who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and who serves at its will and pleasure.
(b) The commission shall set the qualifications for the position of Chancellor and, when a vacancy occurs, shall conduct a thorough nationwide search for qualified candidates. A qualified candidate is one who meets at least the following criteria:
(1) Possesses an excellent academic and administrative background;
(2) Demonstrates strong communication skills;
(3) Has significant experience and an established national reputation as a professional in the field of higher education;
(4) Is free of institutional or regional biases; and
(5) Holds or retains no other administrative position within a system of higher education while employed as chancellor.
(c) The commission shall conduct written performance evaluations of the chancellor annually and may offer the chancellor a contract not to exceed three years. At the end of each contract period, the commission shall review the evaluations and make a determination by vote of its members on continuing employment and compensation level.
(d) When filling a vacancy in the position of chancellor, the commission shall enter into an initial employment contract for one year with the candidate selected. At the end of the initial contract period, and each contract period thereafter, the commission shall review the evaluations and make a determination by vote of its members on continuing employment and compensation level for the chancellor.
(e) The commission sets the chancellor’s salary. The salary may not exceed by more than twenty percent the average annual salary of chief executive officers of state systems of higher education in the states that comprise the membership of the Southern Regional Education Board.
(f) The commission may employ a Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences who serves at the will and pleasure of the commission. The Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences shall coordinate the West Virginia University School of Medicine, the Marshall University School of Medicine and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and also shall provide assistance to the governing boards on matters related to medical education and health sciences. The Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences shall perform all duties assigned by the chancellor, the commission and state law. In the case of a vacancy in the office of Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences, the duties assigned to this office by law are the responsibility of the chancellor or a designee.
(g) The commission shall employ a Vice Chancellor for Administration pursuant to section two, article four of this chapter.
(h) The commission may employ a Vice Chancellor for State Colleges who serves at the will and pleasure of the commission. At a minimum, the Vice Chancellor for State Colleges shall perform the following duties:
(1) Provide assistance to the commission, the chancellor and the state colleges on matters related to or of interest and concern to these institutions;
(2) Advise, assist and consult regularly with the presidents and governing boards of each state college;
(3) Serve as an advocate and spokesperson for the state colleges to represent them and to make their interests, views and issues known to the chancellor, the commission and governmental agencies;
(4) Perform all duties assigned by the chancellor, the commission and state law.
In addition, the Vice Chancellor for State Colleges shall provide staff assistance to the presidents and governing boards to the extent practicable.
(i) On behalf of the commission, the chancellor may enter into agreements with any state agency or political subdivision of the state, any state institution of higher education or any other person or entity to enlist staff assistance to implement the powers and duties assigned by the commission or by state law.
(j) The chancellor is responsible for the daily operations of the commission and has the following responsibilities relating to the commission and the governing boards under its jurisdiction:
(1) To carry out policy and program directives of the commission;
(2) To develop and submit annual reports on the implementation plan to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in section one-a, article one and article one-d of this chapter, and in the compacts;
(3) To prepare and submit to the commission for its approval the proposed budget of the commission including the offices of the chancellor and the vice chancellors;
(4) To assist the governing boards in developing rules, subject to the provisions of section six, article one of this chapter. Nothing in this chapter requires the rules of the governing boards to be filed pursuant to the rule-making procedures provided in article three-a, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code. The commission and the council, either separately or jointly as appropriate, are responsible for ensuring that any policy which is required to be uniform across the institutions is applied in a uniform manner;
(5) To consult with institutions on human relations policies and rules;
(6) To perform all other duties and responsibilities assigned by the commission or by state law.
(k) The chancellor shall be reimbursed for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of all assigned duties and responsibilities.
(l) The chancellor, with the commission, advises the Legislature on matters of higher education in West Virginia. The chancellor shall work closely with the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability and with the elected leadership of the state to ensure that they are fully informed about higher education issues and that the commission fully understands the goals, objectives and priorities for higher education that the Legislature has established by law.
(m) The chancellor may design and develop for consideration by the commission new statewide or region-wide initiatives in accordance with the goals set forth in section one-a, article one and article one-d of this chapter, and the public policy agenda articulated by the commission. In those instances where the initiatives to be proposed have a direct and specific impact or connection to community and technical college education as well as to baccalaureate and graduate education, the Chancellor for Higher Education and the Chancellor for Community and Technical College Education shall design and develop the initiatives jointly for consideration by the commission and the council.
(n) To further the goals of cooperation and coordination between the commission and the State Board of Education, the chancellor serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the state board. The chancellor shall work closely with members of the State Board of Education and with the State Superintendent of Schools to assure that the following goals are met:
(1) Development and implementation of a seamless kindergarten-through-college system of education; and
(2) Appropriate coordination of missions and programs.