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Search for dean narrows down to three candidates

A search committee of seven Emporia State faculty members has been on the hunt for the last few months for the new dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences to replace Marie Miller, a professor at ESU since 1990 and the previous dean for three years, who put in for her retirement last fall.

Since then, the committee has gone through 58 initial candidates from all over the country, narrowing those potentials down to 15 candidates, then 11 for a phone interview and, most recently, to the final three finalists – Edward Jarroll, professor of biology at Lehman College in New York; Brent Thomas, professor and head of the Department of Biological Sciences at ESU and Gary Wyatt, professor of Sociology and the current associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ESU.

Gary Wyatt, Professor of sociology and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at ESU

Gary Wyatt, Professor of sociology and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at ESU

Brent Thomas, Professor and head of the department of Biological Sciences at ESU

Brent Thomas, Professor and head of the department of Biological Sciences at ESU

Edward Jarroll, Professor of Biology at Lehman  College in New York

Edward Jarroll, Professor of Biology at Lehman
College in New York

“We’re looking for someone who can fundraise, who can do partnerships with community, who has a belief in shared governance,” said Kathy Ermler, dean of the Graduate School and Distance Education. “And (who) also can lead the college with a vision to the future, of what Liberal Arts and Sciences should be. I’m hoping that they are able to lead with a shared vision.”

The candidates were chosen on an array of different qualifications, including some previous administrative experience, deans and associate deans preferred. The committee members, including Ermler; Jean DeDonder, professor of nursing; Melissa Bailey, professor of biological sciences; Marvin Harrell, professor of mathematics, computer science and Economics; Nate Terrell, chair and professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Crime and Delinquency Studies; Mel Storm, interim chair of the English department and professor of English and Nancy Pontius, professor of communication and theater. Each sat down to go over paperwork and narrow down the potentials based on their selected criteria.

“The committee all reviewed every single applicant with sort of a rubric in mind, and then came together and said, ‘Here are our top 15,’” Ermler said. “And we talked about all 15. Everyone has their own wish on (who gets chosen). Again, I think you could ask all seven search committee people and they all have a different (idea).”

The potential deans had the opportunity to speak on campus about their plans for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and answer questions from students and staff. They even had a few lunches with Liberal Arts and Sciences students to gather ideas and get opinions on issues they wished to see to in the college.

“I do think the students should know that they had student representation. I think that’s important. Every candidate had lunch with the student group,” Ermler said. “So they were able to ask questions, and they provided us, the search committee, with strengths and weaknesses, so that student voice was very important.”

The committee hopes to gather their lists of strengths and weaknesses in the upcoming weeks. President Michael Shonrock and David Cordle, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, will make the final decision, and the new dean will begin June 1.

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