Search for New CAS Dean Continues

Coco Wang
By the end of this semester, the committee will announce the new CAS Dean, who will assume Professor Gabrielle Starr’s position.

Now that students and faculty have finished providing their input, the search committee for CAS’s new dean to replace Dean Gabrielle Starr is continuing the quest.

From Feb. 7 to Feb. 10, the CAS Dean Search Committee — assembled by President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming — hosted a series of listening sessions to hear from students and faculty about what they hope to see in the College of Arts and Sciences’ new leader.

The Chair of the Search Committee and chemistry professor James Canary said that as the committee received advice and suggestions during the listening sessions, the group transformed the input into their criteria for candidate evaluation.

“The sessions have been very enlightening and we have learned a great deal about CAS and especially the opportunities and challenges facing its students,” Canary said in an email. “We are now applying the input we have received to evaluate candidates with a goal to present Provost Katy Fleming and President Andy Hamilton with recommendations by the end of spring.”

Canary also said the search committee is working with a professional executive search firm to identify and evaluate candidates.

CAS Senior Amanda Ezechi, the Vice President of Student Senator Council, said that she was disappointed about the absence of student representative in the Search Committee, but was glad that the Search Committee kept SSC informed of the progress.

“Unfortunately, there are no students on the committee — that’s something I think CAS Dean Search Committee could have done a better job of,” Ezechi said. “But they did have student listening sessions, invited students to the FAS community-wide listening sessions and kept asking us to send our own nominations and concerns informally.”

University Spokesman John Beckman said that after the public nomination of candidates, the Search Committee is now reviewing every candidate’s capability.

“Members of the CAS community were invited to submit names of those they’d like to nominate for the College deanship,” Beckman said. “The winnowing process — which is ongoing — occurs as candidates’ credentials are examined and discussed.”

As the process of collecting suggestions has come to an end, Sociology professor Michael Hout said that details of the selection have become more confidential.

“As we move from the listening phase to talking about specific people, respect for the process and the candidates means we have to stop talking to anyone but fellow committee members,” Hout said. “From the end of the last listening session to the announcement of the new dean, I will stick to that and say nothing about the dean search to people who are not on the search committee.”

Now that the committee is discussing the candidates, Canary said that the difference in opinions between members are coming to light. However, he believes that there are two characteristics that are essential to the new dean.

“This new candidate must become the chief advocate for undergraduates and undergraduate education on campus, which will require strong familiarity with students and their needs,” Canary said. “Another value is that the new dean must be able to anticipate, recognize and adapt quickly to new challenges that we face in the very dynamic environment at NYU and in [New York City].”

Ezechi said that the biggest challenge the Search Committee faces is to find a Dean who can succeed Professor Gabrielle Starr’s willingness to think from the students’ perspective.

“Specifically within College of Arts and Science, you have a very unique challenge because of the wide range of academia in the college and the size of the college,” Ezechi said. “The biggest challenges the committee faces are, one thing, to find a dean who has the experience, capacity and resume to do it, and another, to find a dean who can actually work with the students and be in and of the students to figure out what are the needs students are facing every day.”

Email Coco Wang at [email protected]

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