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University looks to fill vacant dean positions

By Mariah Schlossmann, For The Miami Student

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Education, Health and Society (EHS) are looking for candidates to fill vacant dean positions.

Raymond Gorman, Associate Provost at Miami University and head of the search committee for dean of CAS, said the process is a tedious, but important.

"On average, the entire search process, from putting together the committee to extending an offer to a candidate for dean, can take anywhere from six months to one year," Gorman said.

The formation of search committees is normally headed by another dean at the university and is overseen by the provost.

Through formal elections or appointments by the office of the provost, the committee typically consists of around 10 individuals. There are usually at least four members from the respective division on the committee, a department chair, a member from the outside advisory board and most times an undergraduate and graduate student.

The committee is tasked with creating an advertisement that is placed in both online and print publications.

"This advertisement qualifies the search as a national one, and one that does not limit it to only internal members at Miami, although there are usually a few internal members selected as candidates," Gorman said.

Aside from creating the advertisement, the committee's primary responsibility is dwindling the candidate pool from the initial applicants, usually 50-100, to 10 semi-finalists and finally, to three candidates. The three finalists are then invited to visit Miami before the university announces its decision.

"Although it's hard to pinpoint the actual timeline of things, we've put out the advertisement and are hoping to have both deans in place to begin fall semester in August," said Tamise Ironstrack, member of the search committee for the dean of CAS.

The Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, as well as the Office of Internal Affairs, work with the committee to evaluate their various actions.

The main point of these evaluations is to make sure they are complying with creating a diverse pool of candidates and using the right placement and language of the advertisement to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

The Chronicle for Higher Education is the number one source where candidates will look for open positions and where employers will place their advertisements, Gorman said.

"We don't limit ourselves to just the people who are looking for jobs," he said. "We have to be aggressive and go after the candidates that are qualified and comfortable in their current positions, but suggest to them that there is a position that they could be even happier in."

As outlined in the advertisement created by the search committee, successful candidates must have a proven record of developing, communicating and implementing a vision and strategic programs in an academic setting as well as hold a terminal degree (usually doctorate) and qualify for appointment at the rank of professor.

Gorman explained that good candidates are also good leaders and good team players.

"It's important to find someone who has vision for their own division, leadership skills and someone who can successfully work with other deans and cooperate within academic affairs," Gorman said.

While the search committee could fulfill their responsibilities perfectly, it does not necessarily secure a successful outcome.

"Searches are often times successful, but can sometimes fail," Gorman said. "Sometimes the market, the people who are looking for jobs, has to change in order to make it more successful."

The process requires a certain amount of aggressiveness on the side of the committee. It requires people who are able to seek out individuals and not those who simply wait for responses after placing the advertisements.

"The search process as a whole is an extremely long and tedious one, but it is very important for us to be confident in knowing that the selected candidate is the right person for the job," Gorman said.