First of three dean candidates visits campus

Megan Grote

Christopher McCord, dean candidate for the College of Arts and Sciences, received first-hand experience of Kent State.

“I am interested in Kent State largely because I grew up in Ohio,” McCord said, “and I am a product of Ohio education. The Kent State College of Arts and Sciences is the central college and has a central role in the university’s overall role.”

McCord is one of three dean candidates recommended to the provost by the search committee. His visit to Kent State is part of the dean selection process, which gives the candidate a chance to meet Kent State’s administration and students.

“(Yesterday) consisted of a series of interviews with groups as the dean would interact with, such as other deans, Faculty Senate and the search committee,” McCord said. “(Today) I will be meeting with the provost and some of the students.”

McCord’s visit also will help Provost Paul Gaston get to know him.

“These are strong candidates,” Gaston said. “It is a big position, and my hope is that the best would be apparent.”

Gaston said the next dean will be someone who is dedicated to academic values, has shown potential as an academic leader and has had past administration experience.

McCord is currently serving as McMicken College of Arts and Sciences associate dean for graduate affairs at the University of Cincinnati.

“As dean I would get fully informed about Kent State and the strengths, opportunities for improvement and the barriers that stand in the way of improvement,” McCord said. “The College of Arts and Sciences is a part of a university with a lot of strengths, and I am very honored to have the opportunity to have a leadership role.”

The next dean has three large priorities, Gaston said. The dean must continue to build strong and distinct academic programs and use fundraising for the strong programs. The dean also will be faced with the challenge to revise the liberal education courses to better serve their purposes.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the biggest and most diverse, search committee member Raj Aggarwal said. The new dean would deal with a range of departments from the humanities to chemistry.

The search for a new dean began last spring when the provost appointed a search committee from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Gaston said that in his 13 years of experience, this is not at all unusual to have a search continue for this amount of time. The search for a dean began again with the same search committee after no candidate was selected for the position in the spring.

“This happened for a variety of reasons,” Gaston said. “The search committee could not reach an agreement on a candidate with whom they had a consensus.”

Aggarwal said the committee is wiser this time around. The search committee has learned which candidates might be interested in Kent State, not necessarily just the candidates in which Kent State is interested.

“We screen candidates and advise the provost about the best candidates,” Aggarwal said. “We also take in reactions and feedback from faculty.”

To make a decision, the provost reviews the recommended candidates and meets with them.

Gaston said he is confident in the dedication of the search committee to find a strong candidate for the dean position.

“The College of Arts and Sciences is in the middle of the academic structure,” Gaston said. “The new dean will be an academic leader for the university as well as for his or her college.”

Two other dean candidates, Joseph Steinmetz and Joseph Urgo, will be visiting Kent State this week and next.

Contact Arts and Sciences reporter Megan Grote at [email protected].