Emory Report

October 18, 1999

 Volume 52, No. 8

Search committees look for leaders in grad school, theology, international affairs

Throughout the 1999-2000 year, three committees will be searching for candidates to fill three of the most important administrative positions at Emory: deans for the graduate and theology schools, and a vice provost for interational affairs.

Dean Kevin LaGree of the Candler School of Theology has already left Emory and is the new president of Simpson College in Iowa. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Don Stein and Vice Provost for International Affairs Marion Creekmore are both stepping down at the end of the academic year, though they will remain on the teaching faculty. All three search committees hope to have replacements named by July 1, 2000.

"I have thought long and hard about these three searches," said Provost Rebecca Chopp, who is chairing the search committee for the graduate school dean. "My philosophy of searches, and it's a philosophy I share with the president and with [Executive Vice President for Health Affairs] Mike Johns, is that faculty need to be involved in determining the future of the school. The faculty are the ones that know the strengths of their research, the strength of the students and the future directions of where their disciplines are going."

Chopp herself attempted to gauge the thinking of the graduate school faculty--no easy task for a school with more than 650 faculty members in every corner of the University campus. She held meetings with administrators, professors and staff "to determine where the graduate school is in its present journey and where it needs to go."

"There was a clear sense that graduate education is changing because universities are changing, and that we needed to find someone who would help us address those many changes, challenges and opportunities," Chopp said. "Over the summer I did an extensive research survey of graduate schools in all of our peer institutions, and I visited several, including Harvard and Penn, to look at what were their emerging issues, their problems, any tips I could find, etc."

In the theology school, Associate Professor Tom Frank chaired a "discernment committee" during 1998-99 to determine what kind of leader the school's faculty felt they needed. The committee issued a report that has been helpful to the dean search committee, according to chair Brooks Holifield, Candler Professor of American Church History.

"They prepared a very helpful document that resulted from conversations with the entire faculty and the administrators of the University and the school; it was particularly helpful in provoding a sense of the current vision of the faculty," Holifield said. "We're looking for someone who has a dual awareness of the mission of the church and the mission of the University."

"Our theology school is as well positioned as any theology school could possibly be to recruit a new leader," said Chopp, herself a member of the theology faculty. "They're in very strong academic shape; they have one of the largest endowments in the theology school world and one of the top theology library collections in the world, and there are many bridges that are easy to cross between the theology school and the rest of the University."

Dean Steve Sanderson of Emory College is chairing the search for Creekmore's replacement and is looking for someone with "program imagination," he said. The candidate will not necessarily be an academic, "but my feeling is he or she will likely have the 'terminal degree' in their field-a law degree, masters of public health, doctorate, masters of fine arts-and will have some experience with an academic institution, whether it's with a university or some kind of scientific or professional organization."

Both Creekmore and Chopp have said Emory is entering the "second phase" of its internationalization efforts, and Sanderson agrees. "What Marion Creekmore did very well was take us through the initial phase, which was to pose the right questions in the right ways so we can start to address them and see what strategic moves we might make. What we need to do now is make sense of that and move on to the next phase, which is to move the organization forward."

-Michael Terrazas

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