Photo by Jenna Aguilera
The search for the new Seaver dean will be opened to student and staff comments in the next two weeks as candidates are brought in for open, town-hall style interviews.
The interviews will begin with Dr. Gary Selby on Feb. 16 and Dr. Michael Feltner on Feb. 17, with two more candidates to be announced via email shortly before their interviews Feb. 23 and 24.
Each town hall will be held in PLC 125 from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., giving students and staff a chance to meet the candidates and ask questions during a free question period.
Student groups including the Student Government Association, Student Alumni Organization, Student Athletic Committee, Intercultural Affairs and the Pepperdine Ambassadors Council will also send representatives to ask set questions.
SGA president Ralph Sampang will be a representative for SGA in some of the interviews. He said he is happy to see that students can get involved in the process and that SGA will have a role in the interview.
“I love that they’ve asked us to ask a question,” Sampang said. “I love that we actually get to sit on the panel with them, because I think that it’s important for us to have open communication with any dean, honestly. But it’s just nice to have it early when it comes to the process.”
After the interviews, students and staff are encouraged to give feedback by emailing email@example.com. Faculty will have a separate town hall later in the afternoon.
“Everyone will be invited to submit any [feedback] after they’ve heard from all four,” Mitze said. “We really do want the community to give us their opinion.”
Provost Rick Marrs, who serves as the committee chair, said the process has become more streamlined since he became dean in 2008, but that the idea of an open town hall is not new.
“The goal really is to have a couple of opportunities where anyone and everyone who would like to meet the candidates, or at least hear the candidates present, has an opportunity,” he said.
Marrs will make the ultimate decision of who to hire for the position after reading through the collected feedback and other materials. He said he hopes to announce the new dean in late spring. The dean will officially start work Aug. 1.
The identities of the candidates were previously kept confidential to protect them from the rumor mill and potentially awkward situations, according to Marnie Mitze, associate vice president and the senior staff support of the Seaver dean search committee.
“Part of this process is protecting the candidates,” she said. “You know that they are often times coming from another university or another position.”
The search process began in the fall of 2014. Marrs selected the seven committee members according to the process guidelines in the faculty handbook. Three committee members are pre-selected, including the current Seaver Faculty Association President Ron Cox, Seaver Faculty Association President-Elect Karen Martin, and Dean Baim, a chair representative chosen by the committee chairs.
Marrs also chose two staff members (Connie Horton and Hung Le) and two faculty members (Julianne Smith and Lila Carlsen) to serve as chairs.
The committee worked with Carter Baldwin, a national search firm based in Atlanta, to build an applicant pool in a confidential manner. The position was announced in September 2014, and by December the committee met to review a pool of more than 50 applicants.
What Mitze calls the “silent phase” continued with the committee honing down the pool into 12 to 14 semi-finalists who were interviewed confidentially in an off-campus location. The committee then came up with the unranked list of four finalists, which was then sent to Marrs and President Andrew K. Benton.
Mitze said she wants to recognize the search committee for their commitment.
“It’s a lot of work: hours of reading, time and commitment,” she said. “Hats off to them.”
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