Officials put CCAS dean search on hold pending selection of new provost

The search for the next Columbian College of Arts and Sciences dean will be put on hold until a new provost is chosen, according to an email sent to faculty, staff and students Wednesday.

Provost Forrest Maltzman said in the email that, after consulting with University President Thomas LeBlanc, officials have decided to suspend the search for the next CCAS dean until the search for the next provost is successful. Maltzman said the new provost should take part in the dean search because the relationship between the University’s chief academic officer and the CCAS dean – the leader of GW’s largest school – is “critical” to the success of both CCAS and GW.

“While the search committee interviewed a number of qualified candidates, it is important that the new provost be a part of finalizing this leadership selection due to the sheer size and scope of Columbian College,” he said.

Officials began the search for the next provost last month after Maltzman announced his resignation pending the selection of his successor. The committee will gather a list of candidates this summer and plans to finalize the search by fall.

The search for the next CCAS dean commenced in November after administrators formed a 16-member committee that included the deputy provost, nine faculty members and representatives for students, alumni and trustees. The college has been without a permanent leader since former Dean Ben Vinson stepped down last spring. Paul Wahlbeck, who previously served as vice dean for programs and research, has served as interim dean since.

Maltzman said Wahlbeck will continue to serve as interim dean next academic year. He said that if Wahlbeck or the new provost decide to revive the search, it will occur during the 2020-21 academic year after a new search committee is organized.

Maltzman added that he and LeBlanc believe Wahlbeck is doing a “tremendous job” serving as interim dean.

“Paul has implemented a number of steps to enhance the student experience, improve alumni engagement and enhance the research productivity of its faculty,” he said. “While both the President and I were aware of Paul’s successes, the search process itself highlighted how highly respected Paul is.”

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