As the College of William and Mary enters the final stages of hiring a new dean of Arts and Sciences, the student body has been inundated with emails meant to keep members of the Tribe informed about the process. The College is not only publicizing the applicants’ resumes on its website, but it is also inviting students to attend campus-wide forums so that students can offer feedback the applicants. As of now, one applicant has already visited the College for the forum, and in the next several weeks, more applicants will follow.
The College has made engaging in the search for a new dean simple and straightforward. The forums are conveniently scheduled, and the links to the applicants’ CVs are literally at the student body’s fingertips. We encourage students to go to these forums and take this hiring process seriously. The new dean will have a huge influence over the College, and as such, it is essential for the dean’s capabilities to suit the needs of the student body. The dean needs to be able to bring more funding to the College and then use that funding to make the College an even more prestigious institution.
The College is reaching out to the student body, and now it’s up to us to follow through. Whether you will be a student when a new dean assumes the position, we are all deeply invested in the College’s future. Students consistently complain they want more transparency at the College — now they have the opportunity to observe the hiring process firsthand.
The dean of Arts and Sciences plays an extremely important role at the College, overseeing over 30 departments and programs, more than 456 members of the faculty and staff and over 5,000 students, in addition to seeking monetary donations. The vast majority of students on campus are under the purview of the dean of Arts and Sciences, and he or she will play a vital role in the education of each of these students. Furthermore, the job description posted on the College’s website hinted there may be upcoming shifts in curriculum and funding goals at the school. Students need to be sure that the new dean will be able to work toward these new goals without changing the heart of our beloved alma mater.
The new dean must understand the importance of continuing to build all of the various academic departments at the College. The College is finally hiring new faculty and staff, so the dean will be responsible for ensuring all of the programs at the school continue to grow. Students should be aware of the possible candidates’ areas of interest and how they will drive these policies in the coming years.
Because of the dean’s authority, student input during the hiring process is crucial. While it remains to be seen how much weight will be given to student opinions, the College does appear eager for student commentary. The forums will allow students to help pick a new dean who will understand both the College and what the student body wants. The College is asking students to provide thoughtful consideration to this matter, and in return it will, hopefully, hire someone who best represent the student interests.