Search for new dean of HASS narrowed to three

Rachel A. Christensen

The three final candidates for the position of dean for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences will visit campus during the end of March and beginning of April, said Larry Smith, search committee manager and vice provost.

The search for a new dean began when dean Gary Kiger announced he accepted a provost position at Southern Oregon University. Ed Glatfelter is the acting dean of HASS for Kiger, who is currently away due to medical reasons.

“Gary did some great things for the college,” said Mary Hubbard, search committee chair and the dean of the College of Science. “Hopefully many things will be the same with the new dean, and hopefully there will be some new things. Any new dean will come in with new ideas.”

Smith said Charles Brody, Amanda Barusch and Yolanda Niemann are the three final candidates. Brody will visit campus March 24-25, Barusch from April 1-2, and Niemann April 3-4, Smith said.

Brody is currently a professor and chair of the department of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and has written almost 25 journal entries and book chapters, information provided by Smith stated. Brody’s curriculum vitae stated he earned a doctorate of sociology from the University of Arizona, has served as the associate editor of “Political Science Research” since 1999, and was an American Council on Education Fellow at Towson University during the school year 2005-2006.

Barusch is currently on leave from the University of Utah to serve as a professor and head of the department of social work and community development at the University of Otago, New Zealand, stated her biography provided by Smith. According to her curriculum vitae, Barusch has a doctorate in social welfare from the University of California, Berkley, completed the management development program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1996, and has written seven books and almost 50 journal articles and book chapters.

Niemann is currently the special assistant for accreditation and distance education to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University, her biography provided by Smith stated. Niemann earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Houston, Texas, was an American Council on Education Fellow at Pennsylvania State University for the school year of 2006-2007, and has written three books and about 30 journal articles and book chapters, according to her curriculum vitae.

Hubbard said the process to choose the new dean has been underway for months and will continue until a candidate is offered the position and accepts it.

“USU has a somewhat unique search process,” Hubbard said. “To begin with, Larry Smith and I work to solicit from faculty members names of potential candidates. Every faculty member has a network across the country. They know of colleagues at other universities that might be good for the position.”

Hubbard said after names were gathered, Smith contacted the people whose names were suggested to see if they’d be interested in applying for the job. This allowed Smith to personally communicate with potential applicants and advertise the position, she said.

“He can share some of the highlights of USU and positive aspects of being a dean in this college,” Hubbard said. “Ideally, he sparks their interest and they apply for the job. Sometimes, though they’re happy with where they, are and periodically they will suggest other people for the job.”

After those who were interested applied for the position, Hubbard said the search committee created a list of candidates and began the elimination process.

“The search committee is made up of faculty and staff of all academic levels, and there’s a student on there as well,” Hubbard said. “They work to identify the top candidates and create a smaller pool of between five to 10 candidates.”

Hubbard said these candidates are then brought to Salt Lake City, where the airport interviews take place.

“The airport interview consists of one hour of committee interview and one hour of provost interview,” she said. “The committee makes a recommendation to the provost, who narrows down the group to decide who to bring to campus.”

Hubbard said the purpose of the visit is to allow candidates to see campus, explore the facilities, interact with the other deans and meet with faculty. She said the provost, with input from the campus community, ultimately decides which candidate will be the new dean. Hubbard said the candidate who is chosen must have an understanding of students and their needs as well as good communication skills.

“The candidate needs to have a vision and an understanding of higher education,” Hubbard said. “HASS has a broad array of different disciplines. They need an understanding from art, to political science, to architecture. We need someone who understands what it takes.”

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