UI Liberal Arts dean search panel to be named


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A lot has changed since University of Iowa officials first appointed its current dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 14 years ago.

Then, much of the application process was on paper. Ads for the position were placed in newspapers, and those who sought the position filled out paper applications, said John Keller, the dean of the UI Graduate College.

Now that the position will once again need to be filled, the process is a lot faster. Applications can be found online, and advertisements can be streamed through webpages in addition to print publications, Keller said.

As the liberal-arts dean, Linda Maxson has presided over the UI’s largest college, which had 15,896 students in the fall of 2010.

Maxson announced her resignation July 22 to focus on writing a book about leadership and spend more time with her family. During her tenure, she oversaw recover efforts during the 2008 flood and weathered budget cuts sparked by the economic downturn.

In September, UI Provost P. Barry Butler will choose members to sit on a committee to search for the college’s new dean. The committee will consist of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Butler will complete the committee selection and appoint the head of the committee by Sept. 26.

The search committee’s selection would fill Maxson’s position July 1, 2012.

“Obviously, the deanship is a tremendously important appointment, both for the college and for the university,” Butler said.

Keller said the committee is looking for an individual with “over-the-top” academic credentials and is a leader in her or his discipline.

“The new dean will have to be collaborative, a supporter of diversity and have the respect of peers, faculty, staff, and students,” Keller said.

Butler said he is looking for a dean with strong leadership skills and a clear vision for the future of the college.

In Maxson’s 14-year tenure as dean, Keller said, she contributed to significant changes in the college. Maxson took part in the renaming, adding “sciences” to the title. Finding a dean who has accomplished as much as Maxson will be difficult, Keller said.

Looking back on her tenure, Maxson said energy and big ideas are key.

“I wouldn’t trade these past 14 years for anything in the world, but it is time to move on, and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life,” she said.

Maxson will not be involved in the search process for the new dean, but she is open to speaking to the new dean when he or she is chosen.

“It would be inappropriate for me to help in the process of finding my successor, but I put all my trust in the job that the provost and committee will do in selecting a dean,” she said.

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