Stark looks at five candidates for dean

Erin Hopkins

Six months after William Bittle retired as the dean of the Stark Campus, five candidates are in the running for the position he left behind.

Stark began its search last semester for a new dean by placing an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a national publication for colleges and universities. A national search firm also was hired to reach individuals who may not have read the publication, said Mary Southards, assistant dean of student services and a member of the search committee.

The dean search committee is made up of community members, the president of Stark State College of Technology — which neighbors the Stark Campus and works closely with the dean — Stark administrators, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators at the main campus.

Southards said the search committee is looking for certain professional and personal qualifications in a prospective dean.

“There are some real concrete things that are part of the job description in terms of years of experience,” Southards said. “This person has to have to have a Ph.D. (and) teaching experience at the college level. In broader terms, we’re looking for someone who has demonstrated that they have leadership abilities, someone involved in administration in complex institutions.”

The candidates chosen by the search committee are also, “forward-thinking, creative and can demonstrate that in projects that they have completed or instituted at their college or university,” Southards said.

The applicant pool was narrowed to nine based on interviews and qualifications. These candidates then visited Canton and met with the search committee off-campus.

Five candidates were chosen and will each spend a day at the Stark Campus and a day at the main campus, meeting with administrators and students.

The number of candidates will then be narrowed down to three, and President Carol Cartwright will make the final decision.

Leslie Heaphy, associate professor of history at Stark, said the new dean needs to be aware of the existing relationships between faculty and students.

Heaphy said an ideal dean would also allow faculty to develop their skills.

The dean would “be supportive of our particular mission in developing new classes and having internship opportunities,” Heaphy said. “Let the faculty grow through conferences and research, give us financial support and time. If we can’t do that, we can’t help our students.”

Southards said the dean will have to recognize the complex role of the Stark Campus as a part of the Kent State system and bring forward the interest of the campus to Kent administrators.

Contact regional campuses reporter Erin Hopkins at [email protected].