Archive for Monday, February 8, 2010

Fourth candidate announced for dean of liberal arts at KU

February 8, 2010


Kansas University has announced the last of four candidates for its liberal arts dean.

Matthew C. Moen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Dakota, will meet with faculty, staff and students at a public forum at 3 p.m. Thursday at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.

Moen’s academic background is in political science, and his early research focused on the impact of the Christian right in American politics, and, more recently, his work has focused on national and state legislatures, according to a university biography.

He is the fourth and final candidate for the position, joining Susan Carlson, associate provost for faculty advancement and diversity at Iowa State University; Joseph C. Shields, chairman of the department of physics and astronomy at Ohio University; and Greg Simpson, the interim dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


KU_cynic 7 years, 10 months ago

This search is so stacked in favor of Interim Dean Simpson so as to be laughable.

I'm not saying Simpson wouldn't be a good dean. However, either decent candidates from distinguished institutions didn't bother to apply or the finalists were chosen in a manner so as to make the outcome all bit inevitable.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 10 months ago

Both Simpson and Anderson, the acting provost, received their Ph.D. degrees from KU. This sort of inbreeding is very bad and maintains a culture that does not promote standards and excellence.

Maybe both of these men would be great in their jobs, but often it takes a fresh set of eyes and background to see where change needs to take place.

Internal candidates have sacred cows that will be off limits to major changes (in this case Psychology for Simpson and Spanish for Anderson).

The fact of the matter is that academics move around, especially deans and provosts. It is a sign of a weak university that hires only internal candidates.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 10 months ago

"But when is the last time that KU hired an internal candidate?" Kim Wilcox was on the regents before he was hired, but was a faculty member in CLAS before that.

"Maybe you mean it is a sign of a weak university that ever hires an internal candidate." No, but in my mind the internal candidate must be far and away better than any external in terms of research and international reputation.

"UNC appointed internal candidate Gray-Little to several administrative positions. Is UNC a weak university?" Not necessarily. I don't know the competition faced by Gray-Little in these hires. My guess is that it was a weak move on the part of UNC.

"I didn’t know that Anderson was announced as a candidate for the position." It hasn't been announced, but only the most tone-deaf would not think he wants it and is not a candidate. I have heard that possibly two of the three provost candidates will be internals.

"Burt maybe you something the rest of us don't." ?????????

"Tell me, what changes does that department need to make?" For starters, they need to start being active researchers and bring in external grants available for psychology research. There is a lot of money available, and faculty in psychology do not even try at these resources.

"Maybe we should just take these hires and positions one at a time and judge candidates on individual merits rather than prejudging them by the fact that they made the obvious mistake of coming to KU." I agree. But we cannot ignore their backgrounds, so coming from KU is a factor in their consideration. My opinion is that academic inbreeding is bad and is a recipe for continued mediocrity rather than excellence. I have stated why. Therefore, I still maintain that hiring an internal candidate is a weak move and the sign of a weak university.

MyName 7 years, 10 months ago

I think the people looking at this as an "Internal vs. External" candidate are kind of missing the big picture. KU has three big issues right now: managing the budget situation, improving student academics (which is basically the college ranking), and trying to expand Biosciences research (with the goal of getting the national cancer research center designation). The candidates that make the cut will be the ones that show they can deal with these three things.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 10 months ago


I am glad to see you like my response style. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

"Who were the other internals?" Sally Frost Mason, Dean of CLAS who was a KU biologist, and Dave Shulenberger, who was in business at KU, I believe.

"Who are they." Wait and see me proved correct. You shall know soon.

"It must have been an even weaker move on the part of KU to hire her then? An alternate hypothesis is that they recognized that they had talent. I think that makes them smart, not weak." Gray-Little has yet to prove how good she is. She really hasn't done or said anything impressive yet. To be fair, she is new on the job. Time will tell whether she has the talent to move KU out of mediocrity and toward excellence.

"Your knowledge of the psychology department, and the available funding, would be even more impressive if you knew what you were talking about. But you don't." How do you know about my knowledge of the psychology department? This is a statement made with absolutely no basis in what knowledge I may or may not have.

"Try to be consistent. By your standards there is not a single person at KU who would be a strong dean." Try reading my posts. This is not true. I said earlier that an internal candidate would need to be far and away above the externals. I would not go so far as to say that no one at KU is qualified, but I haven't seen him or her yet.

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