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CAS narrows dean search to three

By Abbey Gingras, News Editor

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) will be finalizing its choice for a new dean in the upcoming weeks, to replace Phyllis Callahan, who now serves as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The three remaining candidates are Christopher Makaroff and John Bailer of Miami University and John Griffin of the College of William and Mary.

The Provost Phyllis Callahan in consultation with President David Hodge will make the final decision. They hope to name the new dean by the end of May.

Makaroff is currently serving as the interim dean for CAS while teaching as a professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Bailer, the other Miami candidate, is serving as chair for the department of statistics and is a distinguished professor for the university.

Griffin is the dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at William and Mary. He also serves as a professor in the department of biology.

Makaroff, Bailer and Griffin will be presenting separately in the next few weeks to both students and faculty. The search committee encourages everyone to attend these presentations to become involved in the decision making process.

Sophomore Catherine Mazanek is interested in the candidates, but feels that the time of year will prevent her and others from being more involved in the process.

"I would love to go to the presentations but the reality is that it's getting down to finals week and I don't have time," Mazanek said. "But I think its great that they're asking for student input and want to be focused on student opinion. It'll help foster growth in the college."

Anyone interested in offering their voice to this decision is encouraged by the CAS to submit a form online offering comments on the finalists. These forms are due by May 14.

Associate Provost Ray Gorman, who is chairing the search committee, has certain qualities in mind for the new dean.

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"Certainly we're looking for relevant experience, so someone who understands what it is to be a college administrator," Gorman said. "Someone who would understand what the College of Arts and Sciences is all about, particularly the scope of the college."

The dean of any college at Miami has significant responsibilities in that particular school. Their job description ranges from hiring new faculty to overseeing the budget, policy changes and fundraising. For the CAS, the dean needs to understand a variety of majors from chemistry to communications to political science.

In addition to grasping a wide range of fields, Gorman and the committee hope the new dean will take the CAS to new heights.

"[We want] someone who has a sense of vision of what the college could be in the future and would want to think about how to move the college forward," Gorman said.

While two candidates hail from Miami, one comes from Virginia. Gorman believes both the inside and outside perspectives have their benefits and drawbacks.

"I think when they're an internal candidate you kind of know them better than you would otherwise," Gorman said. "We have a pretty good idea of what we're getting when we hire that person. At the same time, there's always a possibility that a new candidate from outside [Miami] will bring some fresh ideas on how we do things."

All three candidates will be speaking separately to both faculty and staff and undergraduate and graduate students beginning next week. Times and locations of these presentations can be found online at Miami University's website.