University yet to fill vacant deanship, directorship

While the School of Media and Public Affairs is close to appointing a new permanent director, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences has just begun the process of searching for a new permanent dean.

SMPA, which has not had a permanent director since 2002, began its most recent search for a director last December after neither of last year’s finalists were chosen to head the school. The finalists included national media personality Marvin Kalb and GW Professor of Media and Public Affairs Robert Entman.

“The search is proceeding well and as expected,” CCAS Dean William Frawley wrote in an e-mail, in reference to SMPA’s selection of a new permanent director. “We are in the process of discussing the position with one candidate and expect to complete that discussion very soon.”

The final four candidates for SMPA’s top position, all of whom have high-profile experience in the national media, are former CNN and MSNBC program host Bill Press, former CNN D.C. bureau chief Frank Sesno, Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Charles Lane and former International Herald Tribune publisher and CEO Lee Huebner. They were selected from a pool of 20 to 30 applicants and announced as the finalists in March.

At that announcement, Frawley said he hoped to complete the process by the end of April, but last week he said a decision may not come until University Commencement on May 21. He said this is the “usual pace for completing such a search.”

“The details of the search at its current stage still remain confidential,” Frawley said. “I do not know when we will announce the new director, but I hope before graduation.”

Meanwhile, the Columbian College began the search process for a new dean in February when Frawley announced his plans to leave the school’s top position. Frawley is vacating the post in June to serve as president of the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Professor of Political Science Lee Sigelman will begin serving as the school’s interim dean July 1.

Leslie Jacobsen is chair of the department of theater and dance and is head of the committee fielding applications for a new director of CCAS. She said the process of replacing a dean is important but not necessarily speedy.

“Yes, we need to work efficiently, but because we want to be thorough we don’t want to rush anything,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen added that the University will not use a search firm in choosing the Columbian College’s new dean. Jacobsen said she hopes to have a new dean in place by July 2007.

The committee Jacobsen heads is comprised of 14 people including nine faculty representatives, two student members, one representative from the National Council of Arts and Sciences and a representative from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs office.

An advertisement for the position will be posted in academic publications and at universities around the country. Jacobson said the committee could start reviewing applications as soon as this summer.

Jacobson said, “We want to make sure each individual in the GW community is given the opportunity to have a voice in the final selection.”

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