Interim dentistry dean selected fairly

E. Thomas Sullivan, Provost, and Aaron Friedman, Vice President for Health Sciences

The editorial âÄúThe dental mentality,âÄù printed in the Nov. 1 Minnesota Daily, criticized a failure to listen to faculty in the decision to hire interim Dean Judith Buchanan at the School of Dentistry, but there was in fact extensive consultation with faculty and others before her appointment.

We met separately with faculty, students, staff and alumni to solicit opinions and recommendations regarding the School of Dentistry, nominations for the interim dean and nominations for the dean search committee. As a result, we received scores of written comments and nominations.

Buchanan was recommended by these groups more often than any other individual, by a ratio of 5-to-1. We also received an additional list of nominees from a segment of the faculty. Buchanan was on that list.

We interviewed all four of the nominated full professors from that list who were eligible and available. Two individuals were identified as finalists and interviewed again multiple times.

During this time we consulted with recent graduates, faculty, alumni, donors and the School of DentistryâÄôs Faculty Consultative Committee. Many hours were dedicated to the consultative and reference checking process.

There were differences of opinion âÄî as there always are among a large faculty âÄî but there was strong support for former Dean Patrick Lloyd and Buchanan as shown in the Nov. 1 column, âÄúDentistry dean took school forward.âÄù

Given that faculty did not speak with one voice, there was a need to balance these viewpoints and reach a decision.

At the end, it was our decision, in consultation with the president, given the options available âÄî Buchanan, with her extensive current administrative experience, was the choice for the interim dean.

All of these facts were shared with Daily reporters and the managing editor in a lengthy interview, but yesterdayâÄôs editorial failed to mention the details of the process to select interim Dean Buchanan.