College of Arts and Sciences searches for the best dean candidate…again

Angelo Gargaro

After two unsuccessful attempts, the College of Arts and Sciences is looking for three to be the lucky number in its search for a new dean.

“The people you want already have jobs,” said Tim Chandler, College of the Arts dean and search committee chair.

The search is to replace Interim Dean Jerry Feezel, who was brought out of retirement two years ago, to fill the position until a permanent replacement is found.

“I have made it plain that I am an interim dean and I am not going to be a candidate in the pool,” Feezel said. “I am hoping to keep things moving in the college, and have the college in a very good, strong position when the new dean comes on board.”

The fact that many of the candidates are already serving as deans at other colleges makes the search especially difficult, he said. Some of the candidates don’t want others to know they are in search of a new position elsewhere.

“(The candidates) don’t want this tremendous disruption of their own institutions,” Chandler said.

However, in many cases they are not looking for new jobs, but are recruited by Jerry Baker, consultant for the search who has contacted more than 300 people in an attempt to acquire the best candidate.

These aren’t the only snags in the search, though.

“Salary was a problem,” Chandler said about the search’s unsuccessfulness.

He also mentioned “the two-body problem,” which is when the spouse of the candidate cannot find a job near the city of Kent.

Many other colleges are in search for deans as well, and getting an early start is a good step at getting the best candidate. In many cases, most universities are just beginning the process, Chandler said.

“We’ve got a good pool of people,” he said. “We’d like to go ahead and do these airport interviews in a couple of weeks, and we would like to be bringing people to campus probably the first week in October.”

An airport interview, he said, is literally an interview at the airport, when the committee flies candidates in to ensure the privacy the candidate might need.

Once this is done, the committee can make a recommendation to Provost Robert Frank. From there, Frank makes the final decision in the hiring of the new dean.

The College of Arts and Sciences, with 19 academic departments, is the largest of Kent State’s eight colleges. It includes the world-renowned Liquid Crystal Institute, School of Biomedical Sciences and numerous centers, institutes and interdisciplinary programs.

The college offers 45 baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees in 35 programs and doctoral degrees in 14 disciplines, according to the College of Arts and Sciences Web site.

“The committee has reviewed materials from about 30 people – and continues to do so, and the number is about to be reduced to about eight or nine that we will bring for airport interviews in the next two weeks,” Chandler said.

After the finalists are approved, the goal is to bring those candidates to campus, where open interviews will be available to students.

“My hope is that when we bring candidates to campus, that students will come to the interviews,” Chandler said. “There are forums where we have a meeting with undergraduate students and graduate students, and I very much hope that students will come and quiz the candidates and give us their feedback.”

In prior years, the turnout hasn’t been high, but Chandler said he hopes for this to change.

“In the largest college on campus, you very much hope that students will come, and we very much welcome student input.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].