Search for dean is inclusive


Photo: Elizabath Polsdofer/Iowa State Daily

An open forum in the search for the new dean of engineering was on Wednesday, Aug. 29, in Marston Hall.

Elizabeth Polsdofer

The process of selecting a new dean for the College of Engineering is underway. On Tuesday and Wednesday were forums for students, staff and faculty at Iowa State to express what qualities they would like to see in the new dean.

“We’re in the process of choosing a new dean and I think it’s very important for everyone that is part of the Iowa State community to express the qualities they’d like to see in the new dean,” said Richard Wlezien, professor and chairman of the department of aerospace engineering.

“This is the time to do it.”

Selecting the person who is right to fill the big shoes will be a long and arduous process. The search committee has been working hard since its creation before summer to find a dean.

“This is a very important search, the engineering college and the work that all of you do is important and so it’s a key priority of this year to name the next dean of the engineering college,” said Jonathan Wickert, senior vice president and provost and former dean for the College of Engineering. “We were able to get a fairly quick start on the process. The search committee was named at the end of springtime, and the committee has been active over the summer in laying a lot of the groundwork so that we can really hit the ground running and make very good progress here in the fall.”

The amount of effort that goes into the search committee is extensive. More than a hundred potential deans have been contacted by the search committee with the numbers expected to grow as the search committee continues to receive nominations.

“As of yesterday, we’ve had 127 names that the search committee has already been in contact with,” Wickert said. “One of the real messages that I and the search committee want to get out to you, and in turn ask you to carry out … is right now the name of the game is to build a pool. 

“Your ideas, your nominations, are really what’s going to make this search very successful.”

In finding his successor, Wickert has emphasized the proactiveness required in the search for the new dean for the College of Engineering.

“I’ve made it very clear to the search committee that the search is important and their charge is to search,” Wickert said. “It’s not a screening committee that is passive, that sits back and waits for people to apply, but we know that the outcome of searches is the best when it is proactive and the top individuals in the pool are usually strongly recruited to apply and strongly recruited to come here.”

Wickert and Wlezien strongly emphasized that the culture of Iowa State is to encourage input from all parts of the Cyclone community. Persons who are interested in giving their input on what characteristics they desire in a dean are welcome to put their opinions forward.

“We’ve got a long tradition here of being very inclusive, allowing faculty, students and staff to participate in the decision-making process,” Wlezien said. “We always have all three groups represented on our search committees. When I came here the search committee that interviewed me had participation from all these groups. … If people want to influence the process they have got to weigh in their needs and their concerns.”