Students, faculty prepare for dean interviews

Students and faculty assembled Thursday in Lee Hall to discuss the process of selecting the next dean for the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications.

Chanta M. Haywood, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the dean search committee chair, informed more than 100 students and faculty on their role in interviewing the candidates.

Students and faculty will be able to submit questions they want asked of the candidates, which will be asked by the search committee next week.

Follow-up questions will be allowed during each candidate’s individual interview, which are set for Monday through Thursday of next week.

Haywood said everyone has an opportunity to be involved in the process.

“We have been very committed to making sure that we find the best candidate,” she said. “We want students to be involved in the process, but responsibly.”

The four candidates are James Hawkins, interim dean of the SJGC; Laurence Alexander, journalism professor at the University of Florida; Jabari Simama, executive director of the Office of Community Technology in Atlanta; and Jim Jennings, editorial consultant.

Bill Adams, with the University’s Office Of Equal Opportunity, presented guidelines and restrictions for asking questions of the candidates. Adams said inquiries about a candidate’s race or sex should not be asked.

“We don’t want to give the appearance that the reason why a person wasn’t selected was because of race or class,” Adams said. “We want to make sure these questions do not infringe on their civil rights.”

Although the committee has yet to cap the amount of questions, Haywood said they wouldn’t censor them either.

“Your voice is important to us,” she said.

Originally 14 candidates applied for the position. The list was narrowed to four based on the applicant’s reference checks, ability to raise funds, teaching background and understanding of the different disciplines in the SJGC, Haywood said.

“We feel we did a fine job narrowing down the candidates,” she said.

In addition to the search committee, University Provost Larry Robinson will interview each candidate.

After it votes, the committee will send three names to the provost. The position will remain open until Robinson names the new dean.

LaRae Donnellan, SJGC professor and search committee member, said she hopes the new dean has vision for the school.

“I hope we have someone who could help us as faculty in providing the best quality education to our students.”

Jacquelynn Hatter, 19, a freshmen newspaper student from Atlanta, expressed her expectations of the new dean.

“I hope he will establish stability in the school,” she said. “Hopefully, we can get our new building finished so we can move into it.”

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