Listening sessions help foster conversations

Search+committees+discuss+the+most+important+qualities+for+the+next+dean+of+libraries+and+vice+president+for+inclusive+excellence.

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Search committees discuss the most important qualities for the next dean of libraries and vice president for inclusive excellence.

Seated seminar-style, search committees invited campus members to conduct listening sessions aimed at discussing the most important qualities for the next dean of libraries and vice president for inclusive excellence.

William Welburn, former vice president for inclusive excellence, retired Aug. 31 and Janice Welburn, former dean of libraries, retired Oct. 22.

A search committee is a group of people responsible for writing the job description for a position and helping recruit, evaluate and recommend applicants.

“Part of the process is asking why would perspective candidates want to come here and work at Marquette,” Heidi Bostic, a member of the dean of libraries search committee and the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Provost Kimo Ah Yun named these search committees Oct. 4 to identify the next permanent dean of libraries and vice president for inclusive excellence. Each committee is comprised of 12 members including faculty, staff, students and trustees.

Listening sessions will provide information for the “Opportunities and Challenges Profile,” a document that describes the key opportunities and challenges the person in this role will face. Search committees with create this as the basis of the job descriptions for both roles.

“Learning what the values that each of these groups have plays a big role in having someone that supports their needs, their questions and their ideas,” Darwin Saunders, a member of the dean of libraries search committee and a microcomputer technician in library information technology, said.

Both committees addressed questions such as: What skills or characteristics should this person possess? Are there any opportunities or challenges missing from the current role? What would you like to see happen in this role in the next five years?

The search committee for the next dean of libraries met Oct. 27 and 29. The committee is chaired by Deirdre Dempsey, associate professor of theology.

“In these sessions, people have really stressed communication,” Dempsey said. “Someone who can communicate both externally to the rest of university about what’s available and someone who can get the news out about what students and faculty can do with the library’s resources.”

The committee said that some of the qualities they are looking for in the next dean of libraries include someone who will facilitate a process of collaboratively forming a vision and goals for the libraries as well as someone who will raise the visibility and brand of the library within the university and foster opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

“The dean of libraries is different because every unit on campus interfaces with the library at some capacity, so this actually is a very critical role for the university,” Bostic said.

The search committee for the next vice president for inclusive excellence met Oct. 28 and Nov. 1. The committee is chaired by Nakia Gordon, associate professor of psychology.

“We want to hear from the MU community about what they want,” Gordon said. “Figuring out what we are looking for is precisely why we are having listening sessions.”

A few of the characteristics the committee said they are looking for in the next vice president for inclusive excellence include someone who will encourage institutional policies and practices that further Marquette University as an inclusive community, broaden representation on campus, create an inclusive academic environment and administer programs that regularly bring diverse scholarship to the university.

Inclusivity is an action, not just a word, and this individual must challenge themselves and the campus community to show up and work with and for all underrepresented and traditionally marginalized individuals within the Marquette campus community,” Katie Breck, president of Marquette University Student Government and a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Both committee’s chairs said they plan to post the job descriptions for these roles by early December and hope to have candidates by early March.

This story was written by Bailey Striepling. She can be reached at bailey.striepling@marquette.edu.