Columbian College releases Deans candidate finalists

After almost eight months of searching for a new dean, the Columbian College search committee has released a shortlist of five candidates.

During the next two months the candidates will be visiting the campus to meet with student groups like the Student Association, faculty members and administrators, according to a CCAS press release. The search committee will then recommend three final candidates to Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and President-elect Steven Knapp.

“I am looking for (a dean who is) smart, committed, capable as an academic and fundraiser, and who thinks the four-by-four plan is a good idea,” said President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in a phone interview.

Individual schools will vote on the four-by-four plan in April. If approved, the plan would change GW’s current class structure from five, three-credit classes to four, four-credit classes.

“I am looking for positive discourse with smart people asking smart-people questions and getting smart answers. They should have a commitment to teaching and scholarship, and a love of young people and professors,” Trachtenberg added.

The list of dean candidates includes interim dean Diana Lipscomb, Thomas Baldwin from the University of Arizona, Barry Chiswick from the University of Illinois, Peg Barratt from the National Institute of Health and Virginia Sapiro from the University of Wisconsin.

Leslie Jacobson, chair of the Theater and Dance Department and CCAS Dean Search Committee director, headed a 14-person committee that received about 100 applications for the position. Jacobson said the search is following the proposed timeline. The new dean should take his or her position by July 2007.

“GW has a long and proven tradition with excellent opportunities to make positive impacts on the school and students. I was attracted to the school by the quality of the institution, its high reputation, and location in D.C.,” said Baldwin, who is a professor and head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Arizona at Tucson.

He spent the earlier parts of his career as a Master’s student at Harvard University. Baldwin has been teaching at universities since 1975 and has been a member of three different faculties including University of Illinois and Texas A&M University.

“GW wants to increase its recognition as a research university. That has been a large part of my career and I can help the university move forward,” Baldwin said.

Sapiro is the Vice Provost at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a position she has held since 2002, and is serving as a member on the Board of Trustees at Clark University.

“The school combines being a great urban university with really good undergraduate and graduate education and growing prominent research programs,” said Sapiro. “I would work to attract and retain the best possible faculty and students.”

As a former GW graduate student, Peg Barratt is eager to “be part of the rise of GW.”

“It was a good school when I was a student and it has been getting better and better,” she said. “I want to be part of the process of getting students, faculty, and alumni together to find what the world will be like in 25 years and how we can start working on it now.”

Barratt is Deputy Director of Clinical Research Policy Analysis and Coordination at National Institute of Health. He has worked at Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin as a professor and department chair.

CCAS Interim Dean Diana Lipscomb has worked at GW since 2003 and has previously worked as a program director at the National Science Foundation. Lipscomb was named interim dean last June when the initially appointed interim dean Lee Sigelman left for health reasons following William Frawley’s departure to become president of Mary Washington University in Virginia.

University of Illinois’ Barry Chiswick is a UIC Distinguished Professor and has served as Head of the Department of Economics since 1987. He received his Master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

The Hatchet could not reach Chiswick and Lipscomb for comment.

Lipscomb was interviewed and met with officials Feb. 12 through 14. Baldwin will be visiting Foggy Bottom Feb. 21 through 23; Chiswick Feb. 26 through 28; Barratt March 1 through 3; and Sapiro March 7 through 9.

All of the candidates’ information can be viewed in the “spotlight” section of the CCAS Web site.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.