President Bill Chace should have before him a recommendation
for the next dean of Emory College sometime this week, according
to the chair of the position’s search committee.
The three finalists for the position are William Brustein, professor
of sociology and director of the Center for International Studies
at the University of Pittsburgh; Bernadette Gray-Little, professor
of psychology and executive associate provost at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Bobby Paul, interim dean of
the college and Charles Howard Candler Professor of Anthropol-ogy
and Interdisciplinary Studies.
Elaine Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology and
chair of the search committee, said the site visits of all the finalists
“went beautifully.” Brustein was on campus April 7–8,
Gray-Little April 10–11, and Paul held his “campus visit”
last week, April 21–22.
“All the candidates were very well received, and that reception
indicates we’ve identified three very competent, well-qualified
people,” Walker said.
Each individual met with more than 100 people during the site visit,
Walker estimated, from open meetings with faculty to individual
meetings with administrators, to meetings with the departments in
which the person would have his or her main academic appointment.
“Data gathering on these individuals is in its most heated
phase right now,” said Walker, adding that she was receiving
prodigious amounts of e-mail and phone calls offering opinions on
the candidates. “Un-doubtedly there will pros and cons of
each candidate and a wide range of opinion, but I also think a consensus
will clearly emerge.”
Having spent most of the semester canvassing all manner of Emory
constituent groups for their views on the direction of the University
and the best person to lead it, the Presidential Search Committee
now is sifting through the pile of names it has as possibilities
for the job.
That word—“names”—is important, as at this
stage in the search, the difference between a “name”
and a “candidate” is definite and distinct.
“Some of the names we’ve looked at certainly have never
considered themselves ‘candidates’ and have only been
suggested to us as people we ought to be looking at,” said
Board of Trustees Chair Ben Johnson, who chairs the search committee.
Johnson said the list of names is “well over 100” and
includes certain presidents and provosts of Association of American
Universities (AAU) schools; presidents of smaller liberal arts colleges;
deans of prominent schools or colleges within larger universities;
and even “alternative candidates” who may not currently
be in a university setting at all.
Johnson also acknowledged that some names on the list are of people
already employed at Emory.
Right now the two outside firms employed for the search—Spenser
Stuart and the Washington Advisory Group—are investigating
the interest of the individuals on the committee’s list and
assembling dossiers on those who indicate they would like to be
considered. The search committee has earmarked an expanse of time
in late May/ early June during which it hopes to have face-to-face
interviews with candidates.
Some faculty have expressed the desire for open meetings to be held
with finalists for the Emory presidency, but at this point, Johnson
said, it’s too early to tell whether that will be possible.
Some candidates—a president at another prominent AAU institution,
for example—could be understandably concerned that public
candidacy for the presidency of another school could be damaging
at his or her home institution.
“That ultimately is a question of the strength of a confidential
candidate and how the committee responds to the request for confidentiality,”
Johnson said. “I’m not prepared to say at this point
that we’re necessarily going to have open forums on campus
where all candidates are submitted to the full glare of complete
publicity; on the other hand, I can imagine a situation where you
might have a group of candidates for whom confidentiality might
not be so critical, and we might very well have open forums.”
The recently appointed Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC)—10
senior faculty, many of whom are current or former heads of University
Senate and Faculty Council—could embody a compromise between
confidentiality and transparency.
Woodruff Professor Luke Johnson, a member of the search committee,
said the FAC has provided valuable input into the search committee’s
work, just as other spring meetings with campus groups did.
“I’d like to emphasize how valuable that first stage
has been,” Luke Johnson said. “The search committee
received the benefits of extraordinarily candid and useful conversation
across the University, and we are in a strong position to proceed.”