The University formed a search committee late last month to find a new associate dean for health and well-being.
Officials said the search will launch this summer after the committee finalizes the position description with consultants from an employment search firm. Health care administration experts said the new associate dean needs strong communication skills to effectively manage medical staff and garner feedback from students about how to best address student health care needs.
“We will continue the search until we find the most qualified candidate,” University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email.
The Colonial Health Center has operated without a permanent leader since Glenn Egelman, the former associate dean of the department, resigned in 2017. Dean of the Student Experience Cissy Petty currently heads the office, but a search for a new director has not yet begun.
Before Petty, Danielle Lico, the former associate dean of students for administrative services who had a background in health services, led the department until her position was cut in a student affairs overhaul last summer.
Csellar said Mary Ellsberg, the director of the global women’s institute, will serve as the search committee chair, and Gaby Julien-Molineaux, the associate vice provost of graduate enrollment management, will serve as co-chair. Consultants Natalie Leonhard and Julia Omotade from the employment search firm Isaacson, Miller will assist the search, according to a release on the Isaacson, Miller website late last month.
Isaacson, Miller is currently assisting searches for the deans of the College of Professional Studies, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Csellar added that the committee will include at least two students. She did not specify which faculty and staff members will serve on the committee or when the new dean will be appointed.
Csellar declined to say whether the new associate dean will be internally or externally hired or whether CHC staff will be involved in the search process. She declined to say what qualities and qualifications the University wants the new dean to have.
Petty, the dean of the student experience, said the dean’s title was changed to reflect the position’s new focus on developing relationships with students and providing advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“The focus of the associate dean of health and well-being will be to provide the strategic leadership for a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to our students’ health and well-being,” she said in an email.
Petty said she garnered feedback from students and members of the the Student Association and the Student Health Advisory Council about the CHC during the fall semester. She said students asked for “guidance and assistance” maintaining a “healthy lifestyle,” which prompted officials to adjust the dean’s position.
“Students still want to be able to visit the CHC to be treated when they are sick, however, they are seeking out new ways to develop relationships and create community with each other and with the health, wellness and medical personnel who provide them with resources throughout their academic career,” Petty said.
Health care administration experts said the new associate dean must effectively facilitate cooperation between health care providers in University health centers to provide the best care to students.
Beth Scroggins, the director of the student health and counseling center at Western Oregon University, said the new associate dean must garner feedback from medical staff and students about the health center to emphasize “inclusiveness and compassion” among staff and students in the center.
“To me, the most important thing is to listen to the staff and listen to the students and their feedback, and determine what needs to be done, what can be done,” she said.
She added that the new associate dean must be “assertive yet compassionate.” She said the dean has to be receptive to the concerns of medical staff but must be capable of making decisions on behalf of the health center.
“It’s important that people feel heard,” she said. “It doesn’t mean they get their way, it means that they feel heard and feel valued.”
David Salafsky, the interim co-executive director of campus health services at the University of Arizona, said the new associate dean should emphasize forming relationships with students to understand how best to cater to their health care needs.
“I think some of the intangibles would be someone with strong communications skills, works well with others, team-centered and I think ultimately someone who’s really student-centered in the work that they do,” he said.
Ed Prestera contributed reporting.