Archive for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Only the best

Is Kansas University attracting the best possible candidates for some key administrative positions?

March 10, 2011


Various groups or individuals at Kansas University currently are engaged in search and recruitment efforts to find new deans for the schools of business and law and a new vice chancellor, who will be in charge of public information and lobbying efforts for the university.

All three positions are important, and the level of skill, vision and expectation displayed by those on the search committees, as well as those who make the final selections, says a great deal about how good a school KU can become.

Are the goals of the search committees to seek and hire “best in field” candidates, or are they settling for mediocre, run-of-the-mill, easy-to-hire — and perhaps less expensive — individuals?

What instructions have been given to the head hunters if, indeed, such firms are being used to come up with the names of possible candidates? Are there salary limitations? It would be interesting to know why some superior candidates may have said they were not interested in a KU position.

This information should be shared with members of the Kansas Board of Regents since they are supposed to be overseeing the university and should know whether there are matters that hinder or handicap the university’s ability to attract the best possible deans.

Openings in deans’ offices do not occur very often and, when they do, it offers an opportunity to upgrade the position. If KU officials and alumni and friends of the university are genuine in their often-expressed desire to make KU one of the country’s finest state-aided universities, the excellence of deans and other administrators plays a critical role.

Superior deans help attract top-flight faculty and researchers and they, in turn, play a major role in attracting outstanding undergraduate and graduate students.

If a search doesn’t identify a pool of three truly outstanding candidates for each of the dean positions and the vice chancellor slot, it’s better to start over with a more effective search rather than settle for second best, or worse, third best.

The type of individuals selected will send a clear signal to the public, as well as to current faculty members. Just how serious is the university about building the schools’ academic and research excellence?


KU_cynic 7 years, 1 month ago

I know some people involved in these deans searches, and they are top-flight people with the best intentions. Also, reflecting their professionalism, they are not loose-lipped about confidential information involving the searches.

The LJW editorial writer appears to assume the worst on the basis of very little information -- perhaps no information at all. That's not cynicism, that's just ill-will. That sort of sniping and second guessing creates an atmosphere that makes it difficult to attract faculty and staff. Good quality leadership candidates -- often under consideration for positions at other institutions -- can search through LJW stories and infer a very hostile attitude about KU leadership, and it would be natural for many to say, "Why would I want to deal with that.?"

So, Journal World, if you want to help, do or say something helpful.

PugnaciousJayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree. There were 3-4 really strong candidates that were in the first wave of applicants for the b-school deans position whose names have made the rounds with alums - all of whom would be perfect. This would lead me to believe that the search committee has gotten some good candidates. It'll be interesting to see who the finalist are.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

"Just how serious is the university about building the schools’ academic and research excellence?" === A good question, but one which should be directed to the legislature. KU and the midwest have always had trouble competing with higher paying institutions. Money isn't everything, but the university needs basic support from the general fund to succeed in this and many areas.

Kendall Simmons 7 years, 1 month ago

No...DOLPH just wants KU to ask Dolph who to appoint. So don't blame this one on the J-W. They're stuck printing his editorials.

And, yes, this was obviously one of his editorials, what with all the sniping and rhetorical questions specifically designed to imply that something is wrong. Because, to Dolph, something is always wrong.

Based on his own words from the past, he'll never like anyone they hire and will always wonder if there was someone better out there that KU somehow screwed up on and didn't get. Frankly, God himself could be hired and it wouldn't satisfy Dolph.

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