Faculty search should be student concern

Students sent a strong message to the administration last week: Two students care about their education at Kent State.

This was the pitiful student attendance at a reception held for students to meet Robert Pratt, one of four candidates for dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It has been four years since the college has had a permanent dean.

Interim Dean Jerry Feezel came out of retirement to fill the position until another person is selected. The position holds extreme power and prestige because the College of Arts and Sciences is the largest at Kent State.

A search committee is now in the process of narrowing down candidates to replace Feezel and will submit a recommendation of one candidate to the university provost, who will make the final selection.

What does this complicated process have to do with students?


The search committee for the new dean is seeking student input and participation and getting a very disappointing response. Although students make no ultimate decision in the selection process, they are the most affected by the university’s choice of dean.

It is ridiculous that students don’t care about such an important addition to Kent State faculty.

Students who are a part of the College of Arts and Sciences should realize how much this decision impacts them. Where were all of the psychology majors at the reception? Where were the science majors? The list could continue.

The person who serves as dean will determine the direction of significant programs at Kent State. Students should show interest in a person who can potentially affect the value of their degree and the opportunities they have in the future.

A new dean in the College of Arts and Sciences is not just a concern for students within that college. The first year or so of classwork at Kent State is shaped by Liberal Education Requirements. Most LER classes are part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and every student will take many classes from this college.

More importantly, the kind of faculty brought to our school is a reflection on the entire Kent State community. Students and faculty alike should care about each potential dean’s credentials, integrity and dedication.

Will the new dean be committed to sticking around long enough to make a difference? Will student concerns be a top priority in the College of Arts and Sciences?

It seems asking questions of candidates now is a good way to avoid conflicts later.

If the administration at Kent State sees no student response when they ask for student input, why should they continue to seek it?

Students complain they aren’t heard but refuse to utilize the public forums and special events created to hear student voices.

Is the administration going to continue hosting events with an attendance of two students?

We don’t have to answer that question.

If you’re not interested in the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, find out what’s going on in your college and get active.

The administration doesn’t always see eye to eye with students, but we should at least commend their efforts when they seek student input.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.