Columbian College to name finalists for dean’s position by month’s end

GW’s largest college will release a list of five candidates to be the next dean of the school by the end of February, said Leslie Jacobson, the head of the search committee

The search committee will conduct interviews for the five candidates between February and March, and then recommend their top three choices, she said.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and President-elect Steven Knapp will then review each of these candidates. Lehman said student groups like the Student Association will also be meeting with the applicants. The position of dean has been vacant since June 2006.

Jacobson, also the chair of the department of Theater and Dance, said that the 14-person selection committee received about 100 applications and that the process is following the time schedule the committee envisioned. The committee is comprised of nine faculty representatives, two student representatives, one representative from the National Council of Arts and Sciences and a representative from the vice president of Academic Affairs’ office.

Lehman said he would like to see a dean “who is experienced and very capable of raising funds for the school.” He added that the dean should “understand how to work with the faculty in a major research university while being very cognizant of the education of the undergraduate students.”

The last two deans of the Columbian College have served for four years before leaving for other positions. Interim Dean Diana Lipscomb, the acting dean of the school, has served since this June when William Frawley became president of Mary Washington University in Virginia. Lipscomb replaced initial interim dean Lee Sigelman after he stepped down for health reasons that same month. Frawley announced he would be leaving his post at GW last February and vacated the post in June.

Lehman said he wants to hire a dean who will stay in the position for at least seven years as frequent changes in leadership can impact what can be accomplished in the schools.

“What might have been a path to certain conclusions gets broken,” he said.

If all goes according to schedule, the new dean should take office in July 2007, Jacobson said. She also said committee members are looking specifically at each candidate’s academic and administration credentials, fundraising dedication and ability, and commitment to GW’s teaching mission.

“The criteria have always had high standards,” said Jacobson. She added that the committee has been dedicated to finding a “remarkable person for this college and school.”

The new dean will take over around the same time as Knapp will assume GW’s Presidency. Knapp, currently the provost of Johns Hopkins University, was selected in December 2006 as the University’s 16th president. He will replace Trachtenberg who has been at the helm of GW for 19 years.

The Columbian College has 5,394 full time undergraduate students, according to a 2006 report from the Office of Institutional Research. The school also offers more than 40 departmental majors for undergraduates and over 50 degree programs for graduate students according to its Web site.

-Elise Kigner contributed to this report

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