On Sept. 20, the College Dean Search Committee held open forums for students, staff, and faculty to voice their opinions on the characteristics that a new dean of the College should have. The search committee, chaired by Professor Terry Pinkard of the philosophy department, is tasked with finding the new dean of the College, following the announcement in March that current dean Chester Gillis will be stepping down at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.
Pinkard believes the search committee has an important job, and wants to involve the community in the process. “There are a lot of stakeholders in this process, and we want to hear as many points of view as we can along the way,” Pinkard said. He stressed the importance of hearing from all parties involved. “We don’t want this to be a decision that ten people make for everyone else,” he said.
The student representative on the committee, Erica Bullock (COL ‘17), was interested to see how the administrative process works, and has been pleased by what she has seen. [Full disclosure: Bullock is a contributor to the Voice podcast and a former Voice editor.] “It’s obvious that student issues and diversity are at the forefront during this process,” Bullock said.
The committee held four forums over the course of the day in the conference room in Arrupe Hall, the final one for undergraduates in the College. Two students, members of the College Academic Council, attended the forum. The committee will begin evaluating candidates shortly, and whoever they select will fill the position that Gillis has been in since 2009. During that time, he has overseen the creation of new academic programs in the college, including majors in African American Studies and Justice and Peace Studies.
Jacqueline Crispino (COL ‘19), a member of the College Academic Council who attended the meeting, wrote in an email to the Voice that during his tenure as dean, “Dean Gillis’ earnest investment in students, such as the dinners he hosts at his house, have positively impacted student’s experiences at Georgetown.” The committee expects to fill the position by the end of this academic year so the new dean can begin following when Gillis leaves the position.