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Process for naming new dean

November 28, 2011


Dear Faculty,

I am writing to share news about the process we will use to name a new Dean of the Faculty/Dean of the College and invite you to give input as we proceed. Because I am new to the college and I am impressed by the considerable strength of the faculty, I hope to name a dean from among your ranks. Here is the path we will follow.

The first step is to identify the challenges and opportunities that our next dean will face and the important qualities that he/she should possess to best lead in this environment. Please get me your thoughts on the important qualities of the next dean as well as your assessment of the challenges and opportunities that our next dean will encounter by December 22nd. I plan to circulate a position prospectus in mid-January and ask for your nominations and applications by February 15, 2012. My goal is to name a new dean in March and have that person take office on July 1, 2012.

One line of conversation I will explore with each candidate concerns the incredible potential I see in the College at this moment in its history and new opportunities we can create to make the most of that force. Since my arrival, I have been impressed by your dedication to teaching and mentoring students. I have also been excited about the innovative spirit that pervades this college and the strength of our core mission in academic and student life. It is my goal to name a dean who will build on this fine foundation and take the College to higher levels still.

Of course, you the faculty will determine the nature of our next opportunities and achievements through the courses you teach, the questions you pursue, the collaborations you design, and the many other investments you make in our academic community. Therefore I want to consult widely as this important work goes forward. To that end, I ask that you communicate with me at a scheduled upcoming listening session, by email, or in a confidential meeting.

Dangers in any internal process are that colleagues might hesitate to identify promising candidates or that those candidates might hesitate to come forward on their own. To guard against this potential loss, I ask that you talk about this process in your departments and other groups, nominate colleagues, consider coming forward yourself, and be in touch with me with suggestions, questions, and ideas at any point along the way. This is a critical moment for the College, and I intend to do all I can to ensure that we appoint the right leader.  That is not possible without your help.

With warm regards,

Jill Tiefenthaler