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Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Candidate withdraws from KU search

February 27, 2004

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The only candidate for the dean's post in the Kansas University school of journalism has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Will Norton Jr. said Thursday he would remain at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he has been dean of journalism for 14 years.

"I apologize for offending anybody" at KU, Norton said. "I regret that I applied, given the results."

Lynn Bretz, director of university relations, said the dean search committee would meet again today to determine how to move forward in finding a replacement for James Gentry, who will step down at the end of the school year to return to full-time teaching and research.

The committee had 25 nominations and 15 applications for the post.

Norton, 62, was offered the KU post last week after spending three days in meetings and interviews in Lawrence. The search committee hadn't planned to interview anyone else for the job.

Friday, eight Nebraska faculty and students met with Chancellor Harvey Perlman, urging him to find a way to make Norton stay.

Norton said Perlman then told him he would make several additions to the Nebraska journalism program, including an assistant dean, an advising coordinator and technical-writing program, if Norton stayed. Norton said he had been pushing for the additional funds but hadn't received them.

"If you work at a place 14 years and you get an offer that's going to improve the school, you can't say it doesn't matter," Norton said. "I agonized over this thing."

Susanne Shaw, the KU journalism professor who led the search committee, said Norton was the unanimous choice for the position. On Feb. 11, he was announced as the sole candidate. Shaw noted his experience and fund-raising success.

Thursday, she said she made a mistake by announcing Norton as the sole candidate. She said she was unsure how the search process would continue.

"Our impression was that under no circumstance was he staying at Nebraska," Shaw said. "We put all our eggs in one basket. He led us to believe he really wanted this job. Obviously I was wrong. He said this is what he wanted."

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