College of Arts & Sciences dean search halted

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  • The search for a new dean of the College of Arts & Sciences has been temporarily closed.
  • A new search will likely begin in late August or early September.
  • The search committee encountered problems attracting and retaining candidates.
  • Administrators cited the economy and nature of the position as factors contributing to the difficulties.

After difficulties arose in attracting and retaining candidates, the nearly year-long search for a new dean of the College of Arts & Sciences has been closed for the semester.

A new search will begin in late August or early September, with some preliminary work to be done in the spring and summer, said Provost John Pauly.

The most realistic timetable for hiring a new dean is July 2010, Pauly said. He hopes the university will have made an offer to someone about a year from now.

Pauly said he felt satisfied with the caliber of the candidates brought in by the committee. However, he did not feel certain they were right for Marquette at this time.

"We must be patient," Pauly said.

Pauly hopes the new search will attract a broader group of candidates with a wide range of administrative experience.

In the meantime, Jeanne Hossenlopp, previously the chemistry department chair, has agreed to remain the interim dean of the college until the end of the 2009-'10 academic year, said Albert Rivero, a professor of English and chair of the search committee.

The college has been in transition since Michael McKinney stepped down in December 2007 after eight years as dean. John Pustejovsky, an associate professor of German, served as interim dean in spring 2008, and Hossenlopp took over this school year.

Pauly and the search committee thought the university would have "diminished returns" this late in the academic year, Pauly said. They deemed it better to temporarily close the search and recommence at a time when more candidates are looking at the position.

"We felt it was the best solution under the circumstances," Pauly said.

The current economic climate made the search more difficult, Pauly said. The executive recruiting firm aiding the university, Korn/Ferry International, had said it was hard to get candidates to apply, to visit campus and to accept offers.

The original list of candidates for the position included Tim Machan, a professor of English at Marquette, Brian Blake, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and director of graduate studies at Georgetown University, and Marietta Morrissey, a professor of sociology at the University of Toledo.

Blake and Morrissey withdrew their names from consideration in late January, and the university subsequently added another candidate: Diane Michelfelder, provost and dean of the faculty at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.

In early February, Robert Lueger, dean of Arts & Sciences at Creighton University, was added to the candidate pool. Lueger previously worked at Marquette for 25 years as the department chair of psychology and later as the associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

"We were working with a more constrained pool of candidates and the uncertainty of people to enter the search," Pauly said.

Potential candidates had to factor in things like selling their current home or finding work for a spouse, Pauly said.

He said the search for dean of the College of Arts & Sciences is also more difficult than other colleges because the selected dean must represent a wide range of disciplines.

"There's a smaller amount of people who want to take on those challenges, or find them attractive," Pauly said.

Pauly will meet with department chairs in the college Monday to discuss the search. He said he also plans to meet with Rivero and the search committee to discuss improvements for the new search.

Although it is possible that the current members of the 12-person body could remain on the committee, Pauly said it is likely there will be new members. He said universities usually form a new committee with a new chair in these situations.

At Marquette, the provost is in charge of forming a new search committee.

Rivero said he likely will not consider being a part of the new search committee. He said it is a huge time commitment, and he wishes to focus on his teaching and research.

Pauly said the committee worked hard and he appreciates Rivero's leadership.

Michelfelder said she enjoyed participating in the search and meeting people at the university.

"Marquette's a great place, and I am sorry for the institution that the search didn't work out," Michelfelder said in an e-mail.

Lueger had not responded to e-mail or phone calls as of press time.

Machan referred questions to the search committee.