Dean search brings new leadership to campus


New leadership is coming to three colleges on campus in the next academic school year.

The Bob Schieffer College of Communication, the College of Fine Arts and the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences are each searching for a new dean.

The John V. Roach Honors College is expected to start its dean search next year.

With the potential for four new deans, academic leadership could be seeing a significant change in the near future.

“With half of the deans being new next year, there is the potential for large shifts in philosophies of governing the academic departments,” Provost Nowell Donovan said.

Deans take on several different roles within their academic department. They manage the college, promote the interests of their constituents, meet with other deans to discuss the overall status of academics on campus and fundraise for projects within their departments.

“The most rewarding experience for me is to facilitate success for the students and faculty of the college,” said Dr. David Whillock, the outgoing dean of the College of Communication. “To be able to assist in the dreams of faculty and students is the reward for being a dean in the college.”

Whillock has been appointed associate provost for the Academy of Tomorrow Initiative. The College of Communication is still taking applications for the position.

“We have a closing date set in early March,” said Dr. Jacqueline Lambiase, head of the search committee and an associate professor of strategic communication. “Right now, the committee is trying to accumulate a diverse pool of applicants and to begin the process of narrowing it down.”

Each search committee is comprised of a committee head, faculty and students from within the college and outside administrators and staff members.

The committee meets to discuss the candidate pool, narrow it down based on applications, conduct video interviews and select the final three candidates to bring onto campus.

“I am confident that being a student delegate in this search process allows for a student’s perspective and input on various points that professors and faculty many not ordinarily consider,” said Corley Padgett, a graduate student serving on the communications search committee.

Finalists for the College of Communication are expected to be on campus April 13, 16 and 20. The decision will be made shortly following the visits.

Dr. Harry Parker, head of the search committee for the College of Fine Arts, said there are several qualities that are important in a candidate.

“Our committee prioritizes a public face for our college who can build on our excellent reputation, a skilled administrator in handling academic personnel and budgets, an individual who can assist us in our goal to create improved facilities and someone who can assist us in our efforts to create more diversity in our college,” Parker said.

The qualities that each department is looking for are similar across the board.

Once the committees have decided on the final three candidates, the candidates are brought to campus to see if they can fit in to the university’s culture.

“The final interview on campus is a non-stop day of interactions,” said Dr. Joel Mitchell, chair of the search committee for the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences.

“The candidate meets with the chancellor and the provost, converses with their potential staff, attends open forums for faculty, meets with students, gives a presentation and discusses fundraising with the advancement department,” Mitchell said. 

All three final candidates for the Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences have visited campus for the final step in the search process.

After the candidates come to campus, Donovan makes the final decision.

“I am ultimately looking for someone who comes from some sense of academic pedigree, has innovative ideas for the future and fits the culture at TCU,” Donovan said.