Law Dean Search Under Way

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

A search committee formed by University President William P. Leahy, SJ, has begun work to identify the next Law School dean.

The committee, chaired by Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, placed an advertisement in the Jan. 4 New York Times seeking candidates for the position and has retained the services of the Boston executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles, according to Fr. Neenan.

The committee is working to identify the successor to Aviam Soifer, who announced in November he would step down at the conclusion of the current academic year and join the Law School faculty.

In soliciting applications and nominations for the Law School deanship through the advertisement, the search committee noted some of the school's many strengths. With over 4,000 applicants annually, Boston College has one of America's most selective law schools. A distinguished faculty, solid curriculum and a physical plant in the midst of a major construction and renovation project were some of the assets noted in the ad.

"Boston College seeks a dean with the vision, scholarly background, leadership, and administrative ability to move the school to the next level of excellence in the 21st century," the notice states.

"The committee is a traditional search committee," Fr. Neenan said. It includes alumni and student representation, and Law School faculty, among others, he added.

Heidrick and Struggles, which has extensive experience in helping academic institutions find top administrators, will play a supporting role, Fr. Neenan said. "Their effort is helping us to identify candidates who will feed into the traditional search process," he added.

"Our hope is to have a new dean in place for the beginning of the 1998-99 academic year," Fr. Neenan said.

In addition to the chairman, members of the search committee are: Monan Professor of Education Philip Altbach; Prof. Sanford Katz (Law); Prof. James Repetti (Law); Prof. Emeritus Richard Huber (Law), a former Law School dean; Assoc. Prof. Ruth-Arlene Howe (Law); Assoc. Prof. Sharon Hamby O'Connor (Law), the law librarian; Asst. Prof. Mary Bilder (Law); Asst. Prof. Sharon Beckman (Law); Asst. Prof. Francis Herrmann, SJ (Law), the Jesuit Community rector; Associate Academic Vice President Robert Newton; Law School Alumni Association President Ann Pauly, JD '85; John J. Curtin Jr., '54, JD '57; Thomas Maffei, '68, JD '71; and Law Students Association President Patrick Closson, a third-year law student.

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