College of Communication dean search committee forms

Stephen+Hudson-Mairet%2C+associate+professor+of+digital+media+and+performing+arts%2C+is+chairing+the+search+committee+for+the+future+dean+of+the+College+of+Communication.+

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Stephen Hudson-Mairet, associate professor of digital media and performing arts, is chairing the search committee for the future dean of the College of Communication.

The search committee for the dean of the College of Communication has been announced.

Chaired by associate professor and chair of digital media and performing arts Stephen Hudson-Mairet, the committee will be comprised of 13 other people, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, Campus Ministry representatives and university Board of Trustees members.

“There’s a broad range of constituents that you want to hear from whenever you have a search of this magnitude,” Hudson-Mairet said.

Hudson-Mairet said the faculty and staff members were nominated by their peers. They had to accept the nomination and be voted onto the committee by the college. The student was nominated through faculty suggestions.

Hudson-Mairet said the committee will use the search firm Isaacson Miller, the same firm that Marquette has used for searches in the past such as the provost search. 

“We’re in the listening phase right now, which means we’re listening to different constituents around campus,” Hudson-Mairet said.

The committee organized listening sessions Feb. 3-4 are for faculty, students and staff to share what they want in the next dean, Hudson-Mairet said. He said the results of these sessions will be used to compile a profile in tandem with Isaacson Miller. Hudson-Mairet said it is common practice for search committees like this one to create such a profile, which Hudson-Mairet compared to a job ad. He said it should be completed within the next several weeks.

Hudson-Mairet said that following the creation and publication of the profile, the search firm will begin accepting applications which it will pass on to the search committee. The committee will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, after which it will conduct screening interviews in order to identify finalists, whom it will bring to campus.

As with previous Marquette job searches, such as the search for provost, this one will be confidential. Throughout the process, the committee will strive to protect the identities of the applicants in order to attract the best candidates without worrying they might fear for their current jobs.

Hudson-Mairet was on the search committee when Provost Kimo Ah Yun was hired. He said he thinks Ah Yun greatly values the students.

“One of the things I really like about Kimo is that his approach is very much student-first,” Hudson-Mairet said. “From day one, he walked in and announced he’s all about the students, students are the number one priority for him. When you frame things in that way, then every conversation you have has to do with, ‘How does this serve our students?’”

Ana Garner, professor and chair of journalism and media studies, said that one of Ah Yun’s strengths was his openness to communication and transparency. She said she hopes the next dean will share these qualities.

Hudson-Mairet said that the role of dean includes fundraising, being chief academic officer, making sure classes are administered properly, organizing departments and faculty, and pushing forward initiatives that will serve the college in different ways. His own main role is to facilitate the search process.

“If you think about all the different areas within a college, whether it’s the academic strengths or the fiscal operations, those are all things the dean has to worry about,” Hudson-Mairet said. “Sometimes (the dean will) delegate it, but they have to know how to get there.”

He also said he feels the college works best when the dean is a relational communicator.

“That’s a challenge, but someone who’s relational takes the time to learn and figure out how to push the communication forward and how to hold the ladder for people to be successful,” Hudson-Mairet said.

Hudson-Mairet said the College of Communication encompasses a diverse range of study, and those topics may fit together if looked at one way but not in another, thus demonstrating the need for a strong communicator as a leader.

Abby Ng, a senior in the College of Communication and member of the search committee, said she was recommended by Sara Manjee, the Marquette University Student Government president, to be a part of the search. She said that because student input is important, she wants a dean with a record of active student interactions and listening.

“I really want a dean whose values align with Marquette values of service and leadership … who will help encourage those in other students and build relationships, both on campus and in Milwaukee,” Ng said.

She said the dean can make more of a difference than people realize. She added that the position is ultimately there to advocate for the best interests of the students and to create a relationship with them that will add value to the college.

“It’s our intention to have somebody in place by July 1. It’s a little bit of an advanced timeline, but I think for the health of the college and across the board people felt it was pretty important,” Hudson-Mairet said. “Dr. Ah Yun asked the college, and we felt it was important to find someone as soon as possible.”

Though they could have waited another 18 months and aimed to hire someone in July 2021, Hudson-Mairet said that the college felt it was important to find somebody to fill the position as soon as possible.

He also said the committee will keep a website up to date throughout the process in order to keep the college updated on the progress of the search.

“Students should feel comfortable to reach out to members of the committee if they have input on things that they feel are important to be heard,” Hudson-Mairet said.

Editor’s Note: Abby Ng previously worked for the Marquette Wire. She had no part in the reporting or editing of this story. 

This story was written by Shir Bloch. She can be reached at shir.bloch@marquette.edu.