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Search Committee To Find Replacement for Bates

By Matthew F. Palmer

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 has formed a search committee to find a successor to Dean of Student Life Margaret R. Bates, who is leaving at the end of the academic year to join her husband on a year-long sabbatical.

The committee, which has met twice so far, is also looking into the name and role of the dean’s office. MIT affiliate and search committee member Martha W. Weinberg said they are not yet in “final agreement of what the new job will look like.”

The committee is currently advertising nationally for the position and hopes to present a list of three or four candidates to Bacow by April 15, with his decision possible by May 1, student committee member Christopher R. Rezek ’00 said.

Seven faculty members and two student representatives make up the committee. Professor of Material Sciences and Engineering Linn W. Hobbs recently stepped down as chairman. A new one is expected to be chosen at the next meeting on January 19.

Dean’s role could be redefined

Associate Dean and search committee member Dick K. P. Yue ’74 said the committee is in the process of possibly redefining the position of the Dean for Student Life, which Bates has held since October 1995. “We are looking at the roles and responsibilities of the person,” Yue said. However, he adds that the job description will not necessarily change.

The job title might also be altered. One suggestion was “Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs” because the job links two very different disciplines.

The new dean needs to “link the world outside the classroom to inside the classroom in a way that’s supportive,” Bates said. “It’s a very exciting mix.”

Yue said the new dean will have to “demonstrate managerial skills and also act as an advocate for the students.”

Applicants being gathered

The committee is unsure of what types of applicants will be interested in the dean’s job. While they are advertising nationally, the new dean could just as easily be someone from MIT.

Bates said she has a bit of a bias in favor of an applicant “who understands the education offered for MIT students.”

The Dean’s role “is a large responsibility, so not too many are qualified,” Rezek said. He said that the dean will have a responsibility for 350 employees and a $30 million budget. The dean will also be on the Academic Council, which is made up of the deans, vice presidents, and other institute officials.

Committee may seek student input

The search committee is seeking student involvement with their two student members, Rezek and Luis A. Ortiz G, and possibly the student body as a whole.

Rezek said he is designing a way to generate student input, possibly including a student advisory committee, forums, or a newspaper column.

Yue said that the committee values the feedback from the student representatives. “We not only wanted them to act as a liaison to inform the student body but also to help in networking and seeking out qualified candidates,” he said.

So far, however, scheduling has made it difficult for the student representatives to attend the committee meetings. “Neither student representative was notified” of the first meeting held during finals, said Rezek. The second meeting was after school ended.

Chancellor Bacow, head of the search committee, was unavailable for comment.

The faculty members were “very apologetic” about the scheduling problems, Rezek said.

The search committee thus far consists of Weinberg, Yue, Rezek, Ortiz, Vice President for Human Resources Laura Avakian, Associate Provost Phillip L. Clay ’75, Executive Vice President John R. Curry, Dean for Undergraduate Education Rosalind H. Williams, and Next House House Manager Borivoje Mikic.