Honors College to pick new dean by end of spring

By Gwenn Barney

Faculty members anticipate that the University Honors College will select its next dean by the… Faculty members anticipate that the University Honors College will select its next dean by the end of the spring semester.

The college held a forum in 2500 Posvar Hall Tuesday to present an update on the search for the position and allow students to voice their expectations for a successor for Alec Stewart, who founded the program and died last year after a long illness.

George Klinzing, vice provost for research and chair of the search committee, led the forum, which about 25 people attended.

In the next phase of the search, the 12-member search committee, largely comprised of faculty from across the University’s various departments, will continue to accept applications and whittle down the field of candidates to five or six.

The final candidates will be brought to Pitt for interviews with administrators and professors who teach honors courses and will also give speeches in an open forum. Provost Patricia Beeson will make the final choice of which candidate will assume the deanship.

Klinzing said the final five or six candidates should be decided by March 1. The search is tentatively scheduled to be completed by April, but Klinzing said that date is fluid.

“We need to hustle because April will be here before you know it,” he said.

The committee started receiving the majority of applications in January, when it began advertising for the position in national publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“We had a significant number of applications before even Christmas,” Klinzing said.

University officials could not provide the exact number of applications they had received so far.

One of those applications comes from interim Honors College Dean Steve Husted. Having assumed the interim position in June, Husted said he hopes to continue his work in the Honors College for the long term.

“I do intend to be a candidate,” Husted said outside the forum. “I have enjoyed being in this position very much.”

After the search committee outlined the remaining steps, students had a chance to voice the qualities they hope for in a new dean, many citing attributes of the late Stewart.

“It should be someone who’s accessible to students, someone there primarily for the students,” SGB member Alex Zimmerman said. “That’s something that’s always important to look for.”

Zimmerman is serving as a student representative on the selection committee.

Students also emphasized the importance of the new dean’s ability to maintain an environment that gives equal credence to the sciences and humanities.

“The new dean shouldn’t stick to a formulaic approach in leading the school,” one student said during the forum. “He should help students experience different things.”

Klinzing thanked the students for their input and said their continued feedback will help in the search.

“Stay tuned,” Klinzing said. “We’re going to work hard together to come up with a candidate.”