Staff Editorial: Dean search planning discourages participation

posted in: Opinion | 0

Remember all those emails from the Office of the Provost you received starting two weeks ago? Something about dean candidates?

Odds are, you filed those messages as university spam and deleted them without opening them. Or perhaps you skimmed through them and decided you didn’t care who became the next Dean of Pacific’s College of Arts & Sciences. Or perhaps you were part of the handful that genuinely did care and couldn’t attend because of schedule conflicts.

The dean search has been underway for quite some time now and suddenly we’re down to four candidates and campus visits. While all those emails have been very informative of when the events for each candidate are going to be, they’ve hardly been timely in any sense of the word.

Beyond notification arriving the day before the presentation, all four were placed around Thanksgiving break and the last week of classes. No student, faculty or staff member has time to attend an hour-plus meeting on short notice this late in the semester.

Each email repeated that presentations would “be video recorded and available for later viewing for those unable to attend the presentation.” The videos have been uploaded to the VAULT (available through Online Tools from Pacific’s homepage) but you can only access them with the specific URL.  One attempt to watch a presentation resulted in just the audio and no player controls.

The whole process has seemed very hush-hush and unwelcoming to the Pacific community.  Presentations were held in Marsh Hall’s Taylor Auditorium and the room was far from full. The Index’s executive editors and columnist Tyler Oshiro were often the only students present.

Those who did attend the presentations were invited to fill out two-question feedback forms for the search committee, President Hallick and Provost John Miller to “review.” Several reminder emails were sent out prompting individuals to turn these evaluations in to the Provost.

There are understandable reasons for the timeline the dean search followed, but if there had legitimately been concern for the community’s input on candidates, campus visits might have been scheduled when more individuals were able to attend and devote proper attention.


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