LAS dean finalists will visit campus, speak in forums

Jennifer Nacin

Four finalists for the dean position in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will visit campus in February and early March.

“They are four really wonderful candidates,” said Mark Engelbrecht, dean of the College of Design and LAS dean search committee chairman. “They all brought a different discipline to the university as a candidate … They are nationally known scholars in their own field.”

The candidates are Shari Benstock, professor of English and women’s studies at the University of Miami; Peter Sherwood, distinguished professor and head of chemistry at Kansas State University; Wolfgang Kliemann, associate vice provost for research administration and professor of mathematics; and Michael Whiteford, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of anthropology.

Finalists for the position will be interviewed by the search committee and many other groups and individuals on campus between Feb. 16 and March 2, said Susan Carlson, associate provost.

Benstock, who grew up in the Midwest, said she’s thrilled to be among the four finalists. She said she’s excited to take a trip to Iowa from Miami, despite the cold weather.

“Iowa State University is in a very good position to grow,” Benstock said. “I think the institution is strong and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has a good feel about it … Whoever gets this position is going to be able to do some very good things.”

Sherwood, born and raised in London, said he has visited the chemistry department on campus a number of times, giving seminars and visiting colleges.

He said he is very happy where he is now, but he feels that he could make a valuable contribution to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the university.

Kliemann, who at one time taught at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, joined the ISU faculty as an assistant professor in mathematics department in 1983.

“I am very happy about this; it’s a very important college on campus,” he said. “Leading the college into the next five or 10 years would be a great challenge and opportunity, and I am very happy that I may be able to contribute.”

Whiteford has been at Iowa State since 1972. He previously chaired the anthropology department and served as associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2001 to 2003.

“It’s a great college, and to be considered for a position like this is quite an honor for me,” Whiteford said. “In spite of some of the budget uncertainties, this is a great job … anybody that has it should feel challenged and pleased.”

After interviews, the search committee will review feedback about the candidates and make recommendations to Provost Ben Allen, who will work with the president to select the dean, Carlson said.

During their campus visits, candidates will be visiting the campus separately, each attending an open forum from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Memorial Union that will allow students, faculty and staff to interact with the candidates, she said.

She said anyone in the university community may attend.

Each candidate will give a brief presentation on the role of liberal arts and sciences in the modern university, and the remainder of the hour will be open to questions, she said.

On the second visit day, candidates will attend a diversity forum where they will give a brief statement about his or her prior involvement in university issues and how these issues play a role in the college, Carlson said.