Response to “Dean selection process questioned by students”

Graduate students have not been excluded in the process.

Amy DurmaskinâÄôs article âÄúDean selection process questioned by studentsâÄù in ThursdayâÄôs paper runs contrary to the facts. As chair of the search committee, I disagree with the theme that graduate students have been excluded from the search process. The search committee includes a graduate student âÄî an elected officer from GAPSA and a joint degree student pursuing both a Ph.D. and a professional degree. The student on the committee has done an outstanding job in representing the interests of all graduate students. Among other things, she has shared issues raised by the Council of Graduate Students (COGS) with the committee. At her request, I agreed to meet with COGS to obtain COGS input on the finalists. This meeting is scheduled for early October, prior to the search committee meeting with the Provost. From the start, the search committee has included interview questions for the candidates that specifically address the needs of graduate students and how student life may be improved. Answers to these questions were influential in the selection of finalists. Each finalist has not only a general public forum, but also a student forum. The forums have been advertised since September 16 through a variety of communications, including an email from the committee to three leaders of GAPSA and COGS on September 16, that included a link to the search Web page, times and locations of the forums, and directions on how to watch archived versions of the public forums. Provost Sullivan sent an email to deans, directors, and department heads on September 17, asking them to share this information with those in their program. Furthermore, an ad in the Minnesota Daily on September 21 listed the times and participation options for public and student forums, a link to the search Web page, and contact information for questions. Under the Minnesota Data Practices Act, an applicantâÄôs name must remain confidential until the applicant becomes a finalist. The committee selected finalists on Friday, September 18. However, not all finalists could be reached to confirm their intent to continue until late on Sunday, September 20. On Monday, September 21, names of finalists were given to the Minnesota Daily and announced via email to deans, directors, and department heads. The email asked this group to forward information to their colleges, programs, and units. A mass email to all faculty, staff, and students went out at 11 p.m. the same day. Emails cannot be sent to more than 3000 people during regular business hours, as that will cause the University server to crash. Graduate and professional students received as much advance notification about the finalists as did faculty and staff at the University. As of September 21, the search web page includes each finalistâÄôs curriculum vitae, links to archived presentations, and evaluation forms. Evaluation forms for each finalist are available on the search Web page and may be submitted until Friday, October 2. That should provide ample time to review a candidateâÄôs credentials, attend a forum or view a recorded forum on line, and complete and submit an evaluation. The committee will consider all evaluations in making its final recommendations to the Provost. Information about the search and public and student forums is on GAPSAâÄôs and COGSâÄôs Web sites. Graduate students have been included in this process from the start. Marilyn Speedie Dean of the College of Pharmacy and Chair of the Search Committee