CLA dean search underway

As The Minnesota Daily reported Monday, the College of Liberal Arts will have a new leader as early as October. The search committee narrowed the candidates to three and it will begin on-campus interviews this month. The College of Liberal Arts is the largest school on campus and is home to the most number of students. Some argue CLA is also currently one of the administrationâÄôs lowest priorities, as we continue the campaign to become one of the top three public research universities in the world. We therefore call upon every member of the CLA community âÄî students, faculty and staff âÄî to get involved in the dean search process. Attend the town hall meetings, make your voices heard, and donâÄôt allow the University to repeat its actions when it chose Bob Bruininks as our president five years ago âÄîwhich ultimately led to multiple local media outlets, this newspaper included, suing the Board of Regents to open the search process. No matter what the priorities of the search committee and the administration, it is imperative that the next leader of the College of Liberal Arts be someone who values, above all, a superior educational experience for all the collegesâÄô students âÄî even though they are undergraduates and may not be researchers. Provost Tom Sullivan announced that the list includes three candidates: Judith A. Howard, James A Parente Jr. and Daniel Herwitz. Howard is the divisional dean for the social sciences at the University of WashingtonâÄôs College of Arts and Sciences. Parente is currently CLAâÄôs interim dean, and Herwitz directs the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. All of the candidates are qualified to lead our students and shape their college experiences. Their top priorities range from top down change for the entire college to focusing on addressing issues of diversity. Change is certainly needed for CLA âÄî especially if the University is going to meet its goals for four-year graduation rates. But what CLA students need most in a new dean is someone who will bring their interests to the administrative table and fight to make their education a priority.