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Search for dean of Student Affairs continues

Carnegie Mellon is in the process of searching for a new dean of Student Affairs after the previous dean, Karen Boyd, resigned in December to finish her Ph.D. dissertation. The school is working with executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, and the search has been narrowed down to four candidates. Carnegie Mellon is expected to conclude the search and appoint its new dean of Student Affairs by this summer.

In the meantime, Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy now serves as the interim dean of Student Affairs and has kept the school community informed about the search committee’s and Isaacson, Miller’s efforts.

“One of the values of the process is making sure that we get as many perspectives as possible in the selection of our new dean,” said Murphy. “It is essential that the dean has a real appreciation for the special climate here and the deep sense of commitment and collaborative spirit that is such a part of this place. Certainly, someone who will genuinely care for and about students, and someone who will embrace the opportunity to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of the campus.”

At Isaacson, Miller, Vice President Vivian Brocard and Senior Associate Ponneh A. Varho detail similar requirements in the job description on the company’s website: “While first-rate administrative skills are essential for success in this role, the ideal candidate will possess an educator’s passion and an abiding commitment to the individual that will contribute to the lifelong welfare and success of each student.”

Within the last two years, Carnegie Mellon has had four individuals in the role of dean of Student Affairs. This progression started in 2008 when then dean of Student Affairs Jennifer Church resigned after two years of service.
“When Jennifer Church left unexpectedly, we were fortunate that Dick Tucker agreed to serve as interim dean of Student Affairs for a year,” Murphy said.

In July 2009, the university named Boyd as the new permanent dean. However, Boyd resigned after only six months of service in December that year.

“The fact that we are in a new search so soon is unfortunate, but everyone has stepped up, including students, which I appreciate enormously. That said, it will be terrific to have the new dean on board this summer,” Murphy said.
Murphy strongly urged students to attend the upcoming town meetings for each of the four finalists, at which students will be given the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the candidates.

“The four finalists are great. The committee has done a very good job of selecting from an impressive and competitive national applicant pool,” Murphy said. “The candidates are all very excited about this opportunity, and appreciate what an important role this is on our campus.”

However, after having been through this experience before, some students are less than enthusiastic.
“I know it may sound shallow, but I think at this point, it’s hard to get personally attached [to a new dean],” sophomore business administration major Lillian Su said. “I’m really just hoping that he or she will be able to boost our ratings,” said Su, referring to Carnegie Mellon’s Greek and social life ratings, which are typically relatively low compared to ratings in academic categories.

A sophomore computer science major, Michael Arntzenius, attended the town meeting last Tuesday remarked “I think what the university is just looking for right now is someone who is going to stay… [the candidate] had an impressive resume, but can they really promise that they will stay at this school in particular?”

For now, personal information about any of the four candidates has not yet been released to the public.
“We are not announcing the names, just to maintain some level of confidentiality for the candidates,” explained Murphy. “But of course anyone who participates in the open process will meet them and receive a copy of their resumes.”

The remaining three town hall meetings are scheduled for April 26, April 28, and April 29. These will take place in Danforth Lounge.