Editorial Board

Student-only forums give students the voice they deserve in selecting a Whitman dean

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Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly said at the last University Senate meeting that the Whitman dean search is nearing its end.

The Whitman School’s decision to host student-only forums as part of the dean search gives students the say they deserve in selecting the person who will lead the school following the sudden and disgraced departure of Kenneth Kavajecz.

The forums, which will be held this week, will feature the three finalists for the Martin J. Whitman School of Management dean position. Students will receive information about each finalist about 24 hours prior to the candidate’s visit and can share their input about each candidate in a survey that will be given to the dean search committee and Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly.

The forums will give students an opportunity to voice their opinions about the potential deans in a setting that doesn’t include the voices of faculty and staff with a stake in the decision. It’s important that students are involved in the dean search especially considering there was great concern about the school’s leadership after Kavajecz was charged in September with patronizing a person for prostitution in the third degree and subsequently fired.

The student-only forums are not typical for dean searches, but should be considered as mandatory aspects of searches in the future to maximize student input. It makes sense, though, that the student-only forums are occurring initially during the Whitman dean search since there is more at stake for Whitman students in who will be dean compared to other schools and colleges across campus that had more dignified dean departures.

Regardless of whether the forums are well-attended, the Whitman School is providing the opportunity for students to have their say in the search. Student input is critical in the matter of selecting the person who oversees their respective school or college. Moving forward, the student-only forums should transcend the Whitman search and be a factor in dean searches to come.


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