Dean of the College Candidates Visit Campus

David McKenzie

After meetings and deliberation, the search committee dedicated to selecting a new Dean of the College to replace Adam Weinberg has selected three finalists for the position. The three candidates are Debra Kanai DeMeis, Dean of the College and Professor of Psychology at William Smith College; Shirley Ramirez, National Director of Operations for The Posse Foundation; and Dawn Williams, Dean for Community Development at Seton Hall University.

Over 70 applicants from diverse backgrounds applied for the position. Since December, the search committee, led by University President Rebecca Chopp and Associate Dean of the Faculty Jill Tiefenthaler, has reviewed the credentials of the candidates.

“We dwindled the list of over 70 applications down to 25, then we cut it down to 12, then to seven and finally to three,” Tiefenthaler said, “and we are having these top three candidates visit over the next 10 days.”

Looking for a candidate who will follow in the innovative and successful footsteps of Weinberg, the committee searched for someone with excellent leadership and managerial experience.

The committee looked for a person with a proven track record in building diversity and encouraging cross-cultural partnerships. Other requirements were strong interpersonal and communication skills, as well as a Master’s degree.

To maximize student input on the decision, senior SGA President Amy Dudley and sophomore Will Redmund are hosting open forums in which students can converse with candidates and ask them questions.

“These forums are completely student-run,” Tiefenthaler said. “The candidates get a few minutes to introduce themselves to students and explain what they can bring to the job, then the floor is opened for questions.”

Following these informational meetings, students are encouraged to write feedback about their opinions on the candidates. All feedback must be received by April 5, so it can be organized, evaluated and presented to President Chopp by the members of the search committee.

President Chopp will announce her final decision and appoint a new Dean of the College in mid- to late April.

The Dean of the College oversees the area of student affairs, placing him or her in charge of all co-curricular programs like Campus Safety, the Center for Outreach and Volunteer Education (COVE), Career Services, Judicial Affairs and Student Health Services. The incoming Dean will also inherit the job of heading the Residential Education program that in recent years has intended to refocus campus life around the principles of civic education.