Student committee to aid dean search

GW Law School students will have a voice in the search for a new dean with the creation of a student advisory selection committee, according to Roger Schechter, chair of the faculty Dean Search Committee.

The faculty search committee denied the Student Bar Association’s proposal in October to seat a student as a non-voting member of the committee, which will find a successor to Jack Freidenthal.

Freidenthal announced in September that he will resign as dean of the law school at the end of the academic year.

“We’re working to remain involved in the process even though we were not granted membership on the faculty search committee,” SBA President Brian King said.

The 10-member student committee, created through a resolution passed by the SBA Nov. 14, will empower students to evaluate prospective deans after the faculty committee has selected 10 candidates from hundreds of applications, Schechter said.

“We accept that there should be student input, we in effect gave (students) input of a different kind,” Schechter said. “It guarantees a larger input from more students.”

Schechter said past advisory student committees used for other faculty searches were more effective and gave students more involvement.

“I am very confident that we will get student input,” Schechter said. “It’s an open channel of communication . (students) can talk to us.”

King said he is not totally satisfied by the level of student involvement in the selection process, despite faculty efforts.

“Basically the only role we have played thus far is in the nomination process and criteria,” King said. “When you get down to it, having someone at the table on the faculty Dean Search Committee is important because student opinion would be heard directly from a student at every step.”

Flyers are plastered on the wall of the law school commons, asking “Why is the faculty blocking student membership on the Faculty’s Dean Search Committee?”

But King said the formation of the student committee is progress in the process to incorporate more student input into the decision.

“The faculty is acting as the hub of the wheel, with spokes extending out to all these constituencies, including the students,” said Schechter.

The Dean Search Committee and the SBA will offer law students a forum Thursday to voice their opinions about the selection criteria and nominations for the new dean.

The formation of the student committee also will be officially announced Thursday, Schechter said.

The SBA will distribute a packet to students on the selection process and will give students the chance to nominate someone for the dean opening and suggest criteria for the position.

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