Search narrows for new CPS dean

A group of 15 candidates are vying to replace the dean of the College of Professional Studies, who will step down Aug. 1.

The search for the successor to CPS Dean Roger Whitaker, who has held the post for seven years, began earlier this semester and will finish at the end of June.

“It would be good to have somebody who has the same skills that Roger Whitaker has, somebody who understands the process of involving programs that meet the needs of working adults … and who understands how to market graduate programs effectively,” said Carol Sigelman, associate vice president for graduate studies and academic affairs.

“We need someone who is creative, energetic and knows what they’re doing,” she added.

Jeffrey Lenn, a strategic management professor, heads the committee. The selection group includes several professors from various schools in the University and Connie Mokey, assistant dean of CPS.

Lenn said Whitaker “has done an exceptional job” as the school’s first dean, but there is still work to be done in the graduate school. The next dean will have to build on the school’s strengths and develop innovative curricula and programs to meet the school’s growing needs, he said.

In February, the committee reviewed the school’s charter and met with Whitaker to discuss his views of the position.

“When they have the final candidates, those candidates will probably want to meet with the sitting dean for information,” Whitaker said. “I’ll be available in any way I can, but the selection is entirely up to the search committee.”

The next dean needs to have “an earned doctorate, a strong record of collaborative senior-level organizational leadership, experience in academic administration, and demonstrated business and marketing expertise,” according to the classified advertisement placed in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The College of Professional Studies is a school geared toward training professionals and enhancing their qualifications in the workforce. The programs are offered as part-time classes and include courses like political management, strategic public relations and landscape design.

“We are looking for someone who has entrepreneurship … This is a college with programs that are self-financing, so we need someone who can identify the educational needs of those individuals who would like to take advantage of programs at George Washington University,” said professor Gregory Squires, who is serving on the search committee.

The new dean must also advocate for CPS students within the University at large.

CPS students’ needs are unique in that they are working professionals and they have limited time to take courses, Lenn said.

Erik Rapprich, a CPS student enrolled in the political management program, said he is hoping to see a dean that will support increased and enhanced communication between professors.

He said, “The faculty bring unique and complementary perspectives . (But) at times this diversity can create a certain level of interdisciplinary discordance.”

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