The College's search committee for a new dean of the faculty convened for the first time yesterday and elected as its chair Mary Hudson, physics and astronomy department chair.
James Wright, dean of faculty since 1989, will end his second four-year term on June 30 and return to his teaching position in the history department. For one year thereafter, Wright will work as acting provost, replacing Lee Bollinger.
The dean of faculty acts as chief officer of the faculty of arts and sciences and is responsible for the general well being and smooth functioning of the faculty in its development, policy and recruitment.
Yesterday the committee, comprised of seven faculty members, met with College President James Freedman, who is not on the committee.
Freedman described Hudson as "an outstanding scholar who's served on the committee advisory to the president. She's really been a leader on the committee."
Hudson said the committee discussed at its meeting their preliminary strategy for finding a new dean. The major topic of discussion was whether the committee would conduct a internal search or cast a nationwide net.
"We decided we would go with an internal search," Hudson said. "The dean of faculty is principle spokesperson to the College president, provost and Trustees and there was a feeling that someone from the faculty would be best suited for that."
The first project on the committee's agenda, is to compile a list of faculty whom they will begin to interview in February said Hudson.
Through the interviewing process the committee will narrow down the list of candidates. The committee will submit their final list to the president who ultimately chooses the new dean of the faculty, she said.
Last night, the committee also discussed what qualities they were looking for in a dean of the faculty.
"Certainly someone who is scholarly, has the respect of his or her colleagues and can represent Dartmouth as both a liberal arts college and research university which is a really hard roll because we are between and betwixt the two," Hudson said.
"It is big shoes to fill after eight years with Dean Wright," she added.
Hudson invited students to offer their input.
"We will try to hold office hours as a committee," Hudson said. "I think students would certainly be welcome to come. We would like as much input and feedback as we can get."
While Wright still believes a valedictory would be "premature" for him since he will remain dean of the faculty until June 30, he did say that he has enjoyed his eight years as dean.
"For me it is a fascinating and rewarding position," he said. "It gives me the opportunity to work closely with the faculty."
Wright said he plays no role in the search for the next dean of faculty aside from "the opportunity to talk with the committee in terms of the nature of the office."
Wright said he hopes for a smooth transition to his successor.
"I hope I can pass on to my successor an office with as good as good a condition as my successors left me," said Wright.