New dean search underway

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

Ever since former UW-Eau Claire Arts and Sciences Dean Donald P. Christian left the university in 2009, the college was left without a full-time supervisor. Then after an unsuccessful search last year, it was uncertain when Eau Claire would find someone to fill the position.

But with a new school year comes a new effort. The university is now looking for someone to take on permanent dean responsibilities once again.

Eau Claire Provost and Vice Chancellor Patricia Kleine said it’s not uncommon for a search to conclude with no one chosen. She said there are numerous things search committees look for when selecting a new dean, especially when considering the size of the Arts and Sciences Department.

“You’re trying to find the best fit for the institution,” Kleine said. “Remember, they are going to be leading that whole college. So when you go to look for a dean, it’s hard. In my personal opinion, it’s the most difficult position to fill.”

Among other things, the official job description released by the university said the position requires someone with a minimum of three years’ successful administrative experience at least at an associate dean level.

The description also said candidates need to have a proven record of integrity and experience in cultural diversity.

College of Business Dean Diane Hoadley is in charge of leading the committee that is searching for qualified candidates. The group is made up of faculty and student representatives respectively. They had their initial meeting Jan. 18.

There, they put together a list of objectives for the search and sent out announcements describing the position’s opening. They are set to conduct phone interviews for a good portion of March, starting on the fifth. After that is finished, the committee will then begin another set of interviews.

“All of the steps that require faculty input will be done before the end of the semester,” Hoadley said. “So on-campus interviews, that’s where the faculty participates, probably are going to be scheduled in April. I’ve got a tentative to be done with that by the end of the month of April.”

Hoadley said before any face-to-face interviews occur, the members on the committee have to do things like review all applications and do numerous reference checks.Only after these things are completed will candidates be invited
to campus.

One student eager to learn who the new dean will be is sophomore criminal justice major Nate Merkes. He said he thinks it’s definitely important for students in their specific majors to know who exactly their leader is.

“I think finding someone to fill the position permanently will bring a sense of stability to the university, or at least this given department,” Merkes said. “I’m hoping for someone who is hardworking, has a strong work ethic and cares for their students.”

Kleine said the transition from interim dean to permanent dean should be seamless. She said the move will allow for whoever is chosen, if anyone, to really “sink their teeth” into the position and it shouldn’t affect the students negatively at all.

She also said she by no means thinks Arts and Sciences Interim Dean David Baker has done a poor job while here. Rather, she said he has done admirable work with keeping things running while the search for a full-time candidate continues.

If the timeline goes as planned, Kleine said she plans on having a decision made by July 1. But before she gets to review any candidates, the search committee must first present her with their top recommendations.

This should be done by May 5. Only then will Kleine make her final decision.