Multiple colleges searching for new deans

The College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; the College of Justice and Safety; and the College of Business have established search committees to find the next dean for each of the colleges at Eastern Kentucky University.

Current CLASS Dean Sara Zeigler was announced as the next provost during a Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 10, 2020. The search for a new dean of CLASS continues, and a new dean is expected to be selected by the fall semester.

The search committee for a CLASS dean is being co-chaired by Ida Kumoji, professor of graphic design, and Julie George, dean of the libraries.

Listening sessions for students and faculty have been conducted in the search process for a new CLASS dean.

“The listening sessions and the surveys that were collected helps to craft the job ad to seek the person who will be in this role,” Kumoji said.

George said that the overarching theme she has heard from the campus community is that, since CLASS is the largest college at EKU and CLASS serves the entire university, it is often the first to see budget cuts, so it is important that the new dean understands that and will do their part to help limit those cuts.

George said that the university wants to attract a diverse group of candidates for these dean positions. She hopes that with the help from a search firm that they can spread the word about EKU and the open job positions so they can hire the best candidate for the job.

“I think some of the characteristics that we’re looking to see in the new-coming dean would be somebody with a vision and innovation, somebody who would lead us into the future,” Kumoji said.

George is looking for someone who has experience in higher education and in the subject matters that are in CLASS while also being a good communicator.

The pandemic has caused some challenges but also benefits in how the search process works.

The process has involved more Zoom meetings than a normal search, but the search chairs are looking at it in a positive way.

“I think, for now, virtual meetings have been beneficial because more people are able to attend from anywhere. … We had a student join our listening session while she was in the car — of course, I had to tell her, ‘Please don't drive and Zoom,” — but she was able to park, walk across campus and find a spot in the library and still participate,” George said. 

There are still questions and hopes that, when the finalists are named, they can come on campus to get the in-person experience.

“I think where it will be difficult is, I think our campus is just beautiful, and I think it’s hard for a person to accept a job if they don't know what it physically looks like. So, managing that will be a challenge, but we are going to work really hard to try to bring the finalists to campus,” George said.

The job ad for CLASS is still in the process of being completed, so candidates are not able to apply for the position at this time. The College of Business is in the same phase in the process.

Kumoji hopes by the end of April or middle of May, the job ad will be released for candidates to apply, and the committee will have a better insight at how many people are interested in the position.

The search for a new dean for the College of Justice and Safety is in the very early stages of the process. The search committee is being co-chaired by Lynnette Noblitt, department chair and professor of government, and John Williamson, superintendent of Model Laboratory School and dean of K-12 programming.

Noblitt said the search for a CLASS and College of Business dean will proceed faster than their search. Noblitt said that interim Dean Derek Paulsen is willing to stay until a permanent dean is hired to take over. According to Noblitt, the search committee for the College of Justice and Safety won't be bringing candidates to campus until the fall semester.

Students are encouraged to get involved in the search process by participating in listen sessions and forums. Noblitt asked students to keep an eye out on their school email and online for more information in the near future on ways they can have their voices heard in the search.

“We will have listening groups with faculty in all the programs, the department chairs, staff, student groups and organizations as well,” Noblitt said. “I find the student voice in these types of hiring processes hard to get students to participate. They seem a little hesitant about it, but we really value their input.”

The search for a new dean for the College of Business is being co-chaired by homeland security professor Ryan Baggett and associate professor of management Beth Polin. 

A search firm has been selected to help with all three searches.

An updated story will be published when more information is released about the three dean searches.

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