The search for new CLA dean is on

by Alyssa Kroeten

The search for a new College of Liberal Arts dean is under way.

Last week, Provost E. Thomas Sullivan announced members of the CLA Dean Search Committee. The 12-member committee is tasked with finding a replacement for the former CLA dean, Steven Rosenstone, who has taken the position of vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs within the University.

In the coming months, the committee will evaluate applications and narrow the list of finalists. The decision is expected to be announced this spring.

The selection committee consists of faculty members from various CLA departments, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.

Fred L. Morrison, chair of the selection committee and interim dean of the law school, said the committee would be considering input from an array of advisory groups during the search.

These advisory groups will allow students to voice their concerns and increase the overall efficiency of the search, he said.

Student involvement is important, Morrison said, because the dean has to build a relationship with the campus community.

Committee members will learn what issues students consider most important in the search, he said.

“We need to have the input from people who will be the – if you want to call it – consumers of CLA services,” he said.

Graduate student and committee member Kerry Danahy said students should take advantage of the opportunity to help in the selection process.

“If the University is trying to make a good face effort to have students be involved in major decisions, it’s almost a responsibility to be willing to take this on,” Danahy said.

Architecture sophomore Brenda Khothsombath said students should be active in the process because the committee would have a chance to hear directly from the people their decision impacts.

The biggest challenge for the committee, Morrison said, is the longevity of the search and large number of people involved.

“You’ve got to juggle the calendars of half a dozen candidates and a dozen committee members Ö and make it all work in a limited time schedule,” he said.

Nursing sophomore Meridith Corbett remained skeptical of student input. She said that even though the University is trying to include students, some aren’t qualified enough to partake in the search because they don’t know what the dean’s role is.

Sullivan said he is confident the committee will help the University find the necessary leadership for the position.

“This will be a very attractive position and, accordingly, I expect a strong pool of talented candidates,” Sullivan said.