Gonzaga administration is in the process of searching for new deans for four of the schools on campus: engineering and applied science, nursing and human physiology, leadership studies and education. 

It is not uncommon to see four high-power positions all open at the same time, said Lizbeth Martin, interim provost.

“I think it’s something organic. I don’t think there is a particular reason for it,” Martin said. “It’s not uncommon for deans to serve five or six years and then do something else. So, most of these deans were hired around the same time so there is really not something unusual about the situation.”

To begin the search, advertisements and profiles were publicly released on various platforms, the most effective one being academic journals. Through this, the school was able to attract a diverse pool of candidates.

In general, the job of the new deans will be to develop a five-to-seven-year plan that continues the growth and development of the school. They will also report to the provost and join with other deans and other senior administrators to lead the university in a way that supports GU’s Jesuit and Catholic values as well as implement the mission into their respective schools.

According to the online profiles for candidate requirements, other responsibilities will involve community outreach, collaborative strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising and enrollment management.

After the general application period closed, finalists came to campus to be interviewed by faculty, administration and students.

“It was important to see the students input on the matters,” said Martin. “Because ultimately the dean serves the students.”

This led them to make the interview times for candidates fit within students’ schedules. They did this to ensure students had proper opportunity to meet all potential dean candidates. 

“Students are impacted in that they are the clients and we are trying to provide the best program so our clients are successful upon graduation. It is the dean’s responsibility to ensure that happens.  Students can also request time with the dean at any point if they have concerns, suggestions, or initiatives they would like to share,” said Diane Tunnell, associate dean of education and a member of the committee during the search process.   

“[Students] had an opportunity to attend a session dedicated to just students with each candidate to discuss issues, share opinions, ask questions of the candidate and to listen to the candidate’s platform for the position,” Tunnell said. 

As of now, one-on-one interviews are finished and the schools are making their final decisions about who their deans will be. 

“I am honestly happy to be able to say [we had] a very strong pool of candidates. They had deep experience and it was a more diverse pool in many ways,” Martin said.

Decisions about who the new deans are will be released in the coming months as the respective schools review the final candidates.

“This search provides a terrific institution building opportunity to have a new provost arriving at the same time having four new deans and a relatively new dean at the law school,” Martin said. “So, we’re essentially having a whole new group of deans with a new provost and it’s a fabulous opportunity for moving the institution forward.”

Riley Utley is a news editor.

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