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Search underway for 3 deans

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Kat Simonelli
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The University of La Verne is currently conducting on-campus interviews for new deans for the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and the Regional and Online campuses.

The search process began during the spring semester, raising some faculty concerns about the timing and the fact that the process seemed rushed.

The administration addressed faculty concerns explaining that the search and the hiring process for the dean positions could not have moved forward until the provost position was filled at the beginning of 2015.

“In just four months, the searches for these positions took place and candidates were brought to campus before the summer break, giving the campus community a chance to meet each one and provide critical feedback to each search committee,” President Devorah Lieberman said. “These positions are critical to the University, and if we hope to have new deans in place by fall, we needed to introduce the candidates to the campus before the end of the academic year.”

Yet some faculty believe that the search would have been more comprehensive had it started in the fall.

“My major concern is that the search should have started in the fall semester so that we could have cast the widest net,” said Professor of English Alden Reimonenq, former La Verne provost. “It is hard to predict whether or not we would have had more qualified candidates in an earlier search, but in the searches for deans that I know of, when I was a candidate or when I led the searches here at La Verne, all started in the fall, and not one of the searches failed to produce excellent candidates.”

Candidates were scheduled to visit the University throughout the week. At times this week two candidates were being interviewed by different committees at the same time.

“Having two candidates on campus at the same time is very unusual,” Professor of Sociology Hector Delgado said. “It seems rushed, it feels rushed.”

Some faculty members believed the tight scheduling was a grueling process to put the candidates through, but Jerry Kernes, co-chairman of the College of Arts and Sciences search committee, disagreed.

“While somebody might describe it as grueling, I think we expect it to be,” Kernes said. “We expect it to be rigorous. Anybody applying for a dean position understands that.”

Students were also concerned that they had not been offered a chance to weigh in on the search process. ­­­

“There wasn’t really knowledge beforehand about the student forums. I don’t remember an email being sent out about it and the only way I knew was because there was a flyer in the Office of Student Life about it and even then I just found it randomly,” ASULV President David Asbra said. “It wasn’t really a coordinated effort to really push for student opinion, obviously there is an ability to have it but there was no way of promoting it to make it more open to everyone.”

The administration and search committees hope to have three new deans in place before the beginning of the new academic year.

Kat Simonelli can be reached at kathryn.simonelli@laverne.edu and on Twitter @KatSimonelli.

Jennifer Jackson contributed to this story.

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