Students join dean search committee

by Sam Rauschenfels | 1/31/11 11:00pm

by Douglas Gonzalez and Doug Gonzalez / The Dartmouth

Administrators decided to add two students to the committee as a way to obtain a "fuller distribution of student views," although the name of the additional student appointees has not yet been announced, Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno said in an interview with The Dartmouth.

Administrators sought active, experienced student leaders who "could bring that experience and that active level" to the search committee, Spalding said. They also chose students who have interacted with administrators close to the Dean of the College's Office in the past, according to Spalding.

"We did some groundwork on people that we thought would be good candidates and approached a few folks," Spalding said.

The College will release the names of the students on the search committee in the "next couple of days," according to Spalding.

"We're still waiting for one of the students to confirm that they're prepared to take on the responsibility of being on the committee," he said.

While the administrators, faculty and students currently on the committee comprise the "key categories" that the committee attempts to represent, it is difficult to form a committee that represents every possible campus group, according to Mastanduno.

"What you can do is create a committee that's open to the views of any possible constituency," he said.

After acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears announced her intention not to submit her name for consideration for the permanent dean position on Jan. 6, several students sent a campus-wide e-mail calling for greater transparency in the search process, The Dartmouth previously reported. The e-mail, sent to students on Jan. 18, included a petition that was electronically signed by approximately 600 students.

Mastanduno said he and other administrators found the advice in the e-mail to be helpful.

"We welcome that kind of input, delivered that way," Mastanduno said.

The search committee will have an "open architecture" receptive to concerns from any group or individual, Mastanduno added.

The discussions of committee members will be supplemented by input from interested parties, who can "transmit [their] concern to the committee and get it into the process," Mastanduno said.

Student Body President Eric Tanner '11, Panhellenic Council President Anna Sonstegard '11, Native American studies professor Bruce Duthu, biology professor C. Robertson McClung, English professor Barbara Will, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Evelynn Ellis, Athletic Director Harry Sheehy, Chief of Staff David Spalding and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris were chosen to serve on the committee, which Mastanduno chairs.

Administrators plan to host open forums for students, faculty and staff from the Dean of the College's Office, a practice Spalding said has been used in previous administrative searches. The forums will provide a "diversity of perspectives" for the search committee to consider, Mastanduno said.

Spalding was unable to provide dates or locations for the forums.

Spalding said administrators have been "very open about the [selection] process," citing the public announcement of committee members and the creation of an e-mail account to which anyone can send the names of potential candidates.

The committee will also work with Parker Executive Search to find a potential replacement, Spalding said. The College worked with the search firm last year during the search for the current athletic director, Harry Sheehy, The Dartmouth previously reported.

"We found [Parker Executive Search] to be very responsive, very knowledgeable about higher education," Spalding said.

Spalding and Mastanduno commended Spears for her dedication to the College and said they were disappointed by her decision to forgo consideration for the permanent deanship.

Potential applicants for the dean of the College position should be able to "interact well" with students, faculty and faculty leaders, Spalding said.

The new dean will need to maintain a "good working relationship" with College President Jim Yong Kim and the Dean of the Faculty Office, according to Mastanduno. Candidates should also possess strong managerial skills, Spalding said.

"I think it's also important that this person have a history of successfully leading complicated organizations," he said.

Committee members will evaluate both internal and external candidates for the position, according to Mastanduno.