Search Has Not Started for DeanBy Sarah Y. Keightley
Arthur C. Smith, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs, has not decided how the search for former Associate Dean James R. Tewhey's replacement should be run. Smith also said he does not plan on rehearing cases that Tewhey reviewed.
Smith is talking to people within and outside the Dean's Office to see if the job description for Tewhey's position should be changed. He also plans on getting student input and hopes to "have the parameters set before the term ends."
If there are changes in the job description, they would not be major ones, he said. "Probably the central issue is how we deal with issues of student behavior, conflict, breaking of rules," he said. This affects what qualities we would look for in potential candidates, he added.
Anand Mehta G, Graduate Student Council president, suggested that the job might be done more effectively if it were split among two people. This is because Tewhey's position involved heading the Residence and Campus Activities Office as well as dealing with discipline and harassment issues.
In addition, Smith said that he has not considered reviewing harassment cases that Tewhey reviewed. At least "not in any general sense," he said. "I have reviewed cases when students have requested me to in the past," he added.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph and Assistant Dean Andrew M. Eisenmann are more than willing to talk to people, but it will not be a rehearing, said Undergraduate Association Vice President Anne S. Tsao. "I think it is reasonable that they discuss it." People cannot say that Tewhey was not a credible disciplinarian "because the administration was satisfied with the work he did here," she added.
Smith said he is not sure if the administration should take additional steps to regain student trust.
"Because the Dean's Office is the place where punishment comes from," Smith said he believes that student distrust is naturally expected.
"Students are cynical to begin with," Tsao said. The most important thing is that the administration maintain an open dialogue with students and student groups, she said.
"If any [trust] was lost, it would be difficult to regain by anything other than time," Mehta said. "Anything [the administration] does will be as likely to backfire; they need to move on and perhaps in the fall they can try to start fresh."
The search process
Smith needs to determine whether the committee should start the process during the summer or wait until September. He does not want to limit which students can be involved with the process; still, the office is handicapped, he said.
Once the job description is set, the committee will advertise nationally. The committee will "certainly consider people within the Institute, but they plan to look broadly," he said. "The job requires a high degree of professional skill," he added.
He noted that Tewhey resigned at a busy time of the term. "Usually these changes are anticipated over a long period of time," and there is plenty of time to find a replacement, he said.
Most likely, the search process will be similar to the one that took place when Tewhey was hired. The committee would include four administrators and four students. Because only four students could serve on the committee, "it can't be a highly representative group, but we'll try to choose broadly across campus," Smith said.
"I don't want to ignore or exclude student's voices in this," Smith emphasized.
The committee would narrow down the field of candidates to two or three people. After making recommendations, Smith would make the final decision.
(Editor's note: Sarah Y. Keightley contributed to the reporting of this s t o r y ) < I > < \ 2 > < \ 2 > < \ 2 > <\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2