The resignation of University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz and delay of the provost search are complicating the search for a new College of Business Administration dean, despite a search committee forming in late August.
Mark Eppli has served as interim dean since Linda Salchenberger stepped down from the position in July 2012 to become associate provost for academic planning and budgeting.
When the university announced the search committee Aug. 26, the goal was to have the dean position filled by early spring 2014, but Joseph Daniels, co-chair of the search committee and chair of the department of economics, said the target date will likely have to be pushed back. Eppli declined to comment because he said he may be considered for the permanent position.
“If by some chance the university announced a president by the end of the calendar year, there’s still a probability we could have somebody in August,” Daniels said. “If not, we could shoot for June of the next year.”
Daniels, who is co-chairing the committee with Michael Akers, the department of accounting chair, said the lack of a permanent university president and provost consequently affects the college’s search for a dean.
“So there’s a domino effect where you (lack a) president, provost, dean, faculty and this creates uncertainty all the way down,” Daniels said. “If you go in the reverse order, if we go out and hire, that person doesn’t know who their boss is going to be … the dean doesn’t know who they would be working for. And the provost doesn’t know who they would be working for. And so that really makes it difficult for us to get the best person for the job and everyone knows that.”
Daniels said the original plan was to have the dean search follow the provost search, and that may still be true even with the provost search delay and Pilarz’s resignation.
“What we had intended to do is stagger behind the provost search just a little bit, and we are likely to do that again,” Daniels said. “So for us, the provost position is most impacted by (Pilarz’s resignation). We would be second.”
Interim Provost Margaret Callahan, who was not available for comment, has been serving in her role since former provost John Pauly resigned in May. It was announced last week that she will remain in her interim role until a provost search can be completed under a permanent president, which could start as late as August when the Rev. Robert Wild’s interim term as president is set to end. Wild transitions back into the president’s role Oct. 16.
The college is also seeking to hire nine new professors – three for the department of marketing, three for the department of management, one for the economics department, one for the accounting department and one for the finance department. Four professors retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, and Daniels said more retirements could come without permanent hires in leadership positions.
“Uncertainty about the leadership might encourage some people to retire sooner rather than later,” Daniels said.
Steven Lysonski, the chair of marketing department, said he expects most of the open positions to be filled by first-time faculty members, many of whom may just be finishing their doctorate programs.
John Cotton, a professor of management, said while most of the positions will likely be filled by those just finishing graduate school, the lack of a dean does not make the situation any easier.
“It’s awkward to tell someone that we don’t have a dean, we don’t have a provost, we don’t have a president,” Cotton said.
The search-firm Isaacson, Miller is helping the college fill the dean position, and Daniels said further conversations with the firm will dictate the future of the search.
“(Isaacson, Miller) will be helping us on the college profile and the position profile,” Daniels said. “That work has not been done yet. So our dean’s position has not even been advertised.”
“Since it hasn’t been advertised, we’ve just continued to do that prep work that we were doing,” he continued. “That enables us to kind of wait and see what happens with (provost and president).”
Daniels said he understands the university’s priorities in filling the vacant seats.
“We were in a situation where the provost search was of the utmost importance, now it becomes the president,” Daniels said. “And so basically, everything is kind of moved back a little bit.”
Cotton said the main concern for the college is whether or not the search will still be effective considering the other vacancies, but they will have to wait to see how the other searches actually affect the college.
“The major concern in the college is what the impact the vacancies at the top are going to have on the dean search,” Cotton said, “and I think, right now, we really don’t know.”