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Author Topic: Composition & Selection of Dean Search Committee  (Read 10562 times)
xeno_cratus
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« on: October 16, 2007, 11:18:20 AM »

The dean of our college of arts & sciences has recently resigned, and the provost has  proposed that the faculty of the college elect a pool of ten colleagues, from which the provost will select seven to appoint to the search committee.  These seven faculty will be the majority on the committee.

Colleagues--particularly unproductive senior colleagues with time on their hands--are up in arms, asserting that the faculty should have been allowed to directly elect their representatives to the search committee, and that the faculty should send the provost only seven names for the seven slots, not the pool of ten the provost has asked for.

There is of course a context of some perceived "top-down" decision making that frames this agitation, but I don't see the issue: Isn't what the provost is suggesting a pretty much standard way of operating?

Thanks!
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derosa
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 12:16:46 PM »

This resignation didn't have anything to do with the recent hiring of an endowed visiting professor did it?  You've got lots of fun stuff happening!

Kidding aside, we searched for a new Dean a few years ago.  The committee was appointed/invited to participate by the Provost.  Interviews were open to the entire community and feedback was solicited from those participants.  The committee made a recommendation to the Provost.  The Provost honored the recommendation and made the offer. By the way, the process took 2 years.  Candidates who interviewed during the first year, were not seen as being strong enough or a good match for our institution.  In the end, I think we did a pretty good job.
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xeno_cratus
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 12:23:44 PM »

This resignation didn't have anything to do with the recent hiring of an endowed visiting professor did it?  You've got lots of fun stuff happening!
No, that was among the least of the issues!
Quote
Kidding aside, we searched for a new Dean a few years ago.  The committee was appointed/invited to participate by the Provost.
So, it seems that the faculty in your case had no voice in who was appointed to the search committee.  Is that a standard way of proceeding, or is there no real standard here?  Did your faculty not protest about "shared governance," etc.?
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derosa
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2007, 2:47:42 PM »

Right, we did not have a say of who was appointed to the search committee for the dean.  At least here, I can say the the committee was careful to solicit and make use of feedback from open interview sessions.  No protests that I was aware of.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2007, 4:02:00 PM »

At my university the committee is appointed by the president, who then ignores the recommendations and does whatever he wants. At least that is how it used to work--the president was forced to resign at the start of the semester.

I think what your administration is proposing is just fine. He probably knows that there are a few confrontational types who he wants to avoid working with.
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sibyl
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2007, 6:39:59 PM »

Our bylaws specify how many faculty are elected to the decanal search committee.  (At my SLAC the dean is the chief academic officer.)  Only tenured faculty are eligible to serve or to vote in the election.  The president chairs this committee and carries a recommendation to the board of directors, which formally appoints the dean.  The president is free to accept or reject the recommendation of the faculty, though obviously that would be very risky.

At my previous institution the president appointed the committee, with faculty in the majority (appointed, not elected) but with other administrators involved -- a couple of academic department heads like the library director and the registrar, and a couple of vice presidents in other areas like student life and development.  One of the faculty members chaired the committee, which made a recommendation to the president.

The process described by the OP doesn't strike me as particularly chilling.  The faculty have a strong say but not a final say in the composition of the committee and/or the appointment.
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ursula
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2007, 10:06:04 PM »

Here the nominating committee of senate recommends a committee slate to the provost.  The committee is usually 6 members from the faculty in question, representative by rank and gender, plus the provost ipse.
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clayartist
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 4:13:18 PM »

At my uni, the president and senate leader come up with a list of department chairs.  It is from this list the committee members are chosen. 

Our interviews are not open to the community (the college faculty, staff, etc.?.  Not the general community, right?)  though I think that would be a great idea.

The committee I sat on recently made a recommendation to advance the names of three people of the 11 we interviewed.  Then the President selected from the three.
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svenc
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 5:01:48 PM »



The process described by the OP doesn't strike me as particularly chilling.  The faculty have a strong say but not a final say in the composition of the committee and/or the appointment.

Fair enough.  An even more benign view of this is that the Provost's office might simply want to pick the seven people who will best balance out the committee given the other members of the search committee (i.e., those external to your College), and/or the Provost wants a few "extra" names to hold in reserve in case the exact timing of the search changes in a way that does not allow someone to participate.

I definitely agree with those who don't think this sounds so horrible.  Yes, the Provost is exercising some control, but it sounds like a clear and transparent process.
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xeno_cratus
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2007, 12:49:52 PM »

One further question, if I may: A colleague has objected to our provost's "send me ten, I'll pick seven" formula on the basis of the following dictum from the AAUP Redbook:

"Other academic administrators, such as the dean of a college or a person of
equivalent responsibility, are by the nature of their duties more directly
dependent upon faculty support. In such instances, the composition of the
search committee should reflect the primacy of faculty interest, and the
faculty component of the committee should be chosen by the faculty of the
unit or by a representative body of the faculty."

Faculty Participation in the Selection, Evaluation, and Retention of Administrators
http://www2.semo.edu/naugler/aaup/part.html

I think we've heard from one respondent above, sybil, at an SLAC, whose institution seems to follow this policy, if for tenured faculty only.

Does anyone have an idea of what percentage of institutions actually follow the AAUP rule in this respect?
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minor_t
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2007, 9:06:36 PM »

I don't know of any that follow AAUP.  I'm sure it happens, but the only time I hear about AAUP is if the faculty on a campus are unhappy and want the administration censured. 
mt
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mended_drum
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2008, 2:26:24 AM »

Out of curiosity, what would happen on your campuses if the President appointed the new academic dean over the summer and just announced it to the faculty? 
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drangie
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2008, 1:50:31 AM »

General insurrection.
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