Students, faculty should take part in selecting new dean

After Jennifer Church, the former Dean of Student Affairs, vacated her position in late 2008, the university began searching for a replacement, choosing Dick Tucker as the interim dean. The search committee has narrowed the selection down to four candidates, none of whom are from within Carnegie Mellon, offering the chance for a fresh perspective.

The administration isn’t making this decision by itself, however. It has invited the campus community to take part in the interview process with these candidates, affording students an opportunity to help select the best candidate to serve the affairs of students.

The student body, faculty, and staff, is invited to attend town hall-style meetings for each candidate. Questions are welcomed, and students have a chance to see how the candidates would respond to issues that are most important to them.

We think that this is a smart move from the administration, especially since the Dean of Student Affairs will interact the most with students and will be responsible for things students deal with most often, like housing, student health, and student activities.

Even though the administration is trying to collect opinions from the campus community at large, attendance at the town hall meetings has been disappointing thus far, showing a lack of concern from the community about the new dean. In order for the university’s attempts to receive feedback from the campus to be effective, more people need to respond to the administration’s invitation and attend the town hall meetings.

We hope that students, faculty, and staff will take this opportunity to help choose the new Dean of Student Affairs and give their input on both of the two candidates visiting this week.

When students are given the opportunity to question the candidates at the town hall meetings, they should keep in mind the qualities that would be important for a Dean of Student Affairs. In November, we expressed a desire to see a candidate who would communicate effectively with students, devote time to various groups on campus, and perhaps come from outside the university, reducing the risk of bias for or against certain departments or people.

We believe these traits are important to look for in a potential dean, and we encourage students to develop their own ideas about their ideal Dean of Student Affairs when formulating questions for the town hall meetings.

We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to attend the town hall meetings and to take advantage of their chance to help select the new dean. Meetings will take place in Rangos 3 at 4:45 p.m. today and tomorrow.