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How to pick a dean: U of L searches for three deans

By on March 26, 2014
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By Jacob Abrahamson–

The University is currently in the process of hiring three new deans.  The Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development and the Law School are currently in the midst of this hiring process.

“The role of dean is a key role in the institution,” said Tracy Eells, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, who acts as an ex-officio member of each search committee. “There is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into the process.”

According to the Redbook, which is the governing document of the university, “deans shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the President.”

Before the President makes any recommendation, though, the Provost forms a search committee charged with the task of finding and narrowing down a field of candidates.

In all three searches happening right now, the university has worked with Academic Search, a firm which assists universities in leadership search processes and is, according to their mission statement, committed to “provide the highest level of search” to academic institutions.

John Hicks, Senior Consultant at Academic Search, stated that his role was to assist in identifying candidates, maintain relationships with them, follow timelines and provide background checks of candidates.

“I ask them what attributes they would like to see in the next dean,” said Hicks about his relationship with the search committees.

With this search method, “excellent candidates have come to campus,” says Brent Fryrear, a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development who served on the CEHD Search Committee.

The candidates, after being narrowed down by search committees, come to campus to meet with the search committees and hold forums and meetings with students and faculty.  The committee then submits one or two candidates to the Provost, who makes the final recommendation to the President.

“Each search can be unique,” added Fryrear, who also served on the committee that selected Dr. Dunn, the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs.

“The Provost and President are interested in finding the best person they can in the country to lead each of these colleges,” said Eells.

“I think the University of Louisville supports searches well,” Hicks stated, stating that the University recognizes the importance of a successful search.

Some examples of this recognition include the addition of a Committee on Diversity and the use of a Dean from another college as a co-chair on the search committee.  Both of these things, said Hicks, add strength to the committee.

Student involvement in the process was strongly encouraged by both Hicks and Fryrear.

“It gives them a voice in a decision that could affect not only their own future as a student, but the future of a lot of other students,” said Fryrear.

A&S and CEHD have visited campus, and, according to Fryrear, the committee for CEHD has submitted two names to the Provost.  The law school search has begun recently.

The Provost has expressed interest in having the A&S and CEHD positions filled by July 1.

About Olivia Krauth

Asst. Editor in Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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