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Feb. 17, 2005 • Volume 13 Number 11

AVP Search Committee Ready to Begin Process

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

The academic vice president search committee has finalized its membership and next week will meet with a consultant to discuss the task of filling Boston College's top academic position.

Vice President and Special Assistant to the President William B. Neenan, SJ, the committee's chair, announced recently that Tanya Sharpe, a student in the Graduate School of Social Work, and Carroll School of Management junior Michael Dixon have been added to the panel of administrators and faculty members.

"It's a remarkable committee, broadly representative of the schools, scholarly interests and disciplines of Boston College," said Fr. Neenan. "I am confident that the members will come up with excellent prospective candidates."

The search for a successor to Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John Neuhauser, who announced in December that he would step down, will officially begin with the placement of a notice in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Feb. 28, said Fr. Neenan. In preparation for that stage, the committee will meet shortly to plan strategy for identifying AVP candidates. A representative from the consulting firm Witt/Kieffer will be present at that meeting.

Committee members expect to begin reviewing applications on April 1.

"One of the key factors in this search," he said, "is that we will have to consider how much the landscape has changed, not only at BC but throughout higher education, since our last AVP search in 1999."

Fr. Neenan said that at the initial meeting of the search committee, University President William P. Leahy, SJ, spoke with the members and identified three qualities that should guide the evaluations of candidates.

"A candidate should have a strong academic record with an earned graduate degree - preferably a PhD - and substantial experience in higher education," said Fr. Neenan. "He or she should also have a proven administrative capability to work well within a complex institution like BC, and to interact effectively with other principal administrators.

"We also would want someone who is supportive of Jesuit and Catholic traditions, and show a willingness to promote them.

"Fr. Leahy encouraged us to search broadly for possible candidates, primarily among the academic leadership of peer universities across the country and even abroad where appropriate."

Since most serious applicants for the post are likely to be administrators who are well established at their current institutions, Fr. Neenan said, the committee will make every effort to respect their privacy and refrain from publicizing candidates' names during the search.

Fr. Neenan noted that the AVP search is taking place as the University is winding up its Assessment and Planning Initiative, which will set institutional priorities in academics, research, student life and other areas for the next decade.

"The new AVP will arrive at a university that will have just completed an extensive and ambitious planning effort, and will be expected to play a key role in the implementation of this plan," said Fr. Neenan. "But the life of a university is always in flux, always changing, so any new academic leader always comes aboard a moving train."

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