- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming is still trying to fill four college dean positions that have not had a permanent leader for about a year.

Permanent dean positions at the UW College of Law, College of Business, College of Engineering and College of Education have yet to be filled. UW is conducting searches for each job.

David Jones, UW’s vice president for academic affairs, told the UW Faculty Senate this week that the searches at the College of Business and College of Engineering are “farther along, with law closely behind.”

Each college has a functioning interim dean.

“We’re putting three search committees together at the same time,” Jones said. “It’s hard to get them at the same pace from scratch.”

The deans left during Bob Sternberg’s short five-month tenure as president. Sternberg resigned last November and was replaced by Dick McGinity.

John Mittelstaedt has been interim dean of the College of Business since August 2013.

“The good news from my perspective is whether I’m a permanent dean or an interim dean, the institution does not treat any interim deans any lesser than a permanent dean,” Mittelstaedt told the Laramie Boomerang (https://bit.ly/1vkSuwf).

Still, Mittelstaedt’s interim title brings a degree of uncertainty to his daily duties and the dean search. However, with a more stable administration, the searches can function more easily.

“You have to learn to deal with a certain amount of ambiguity in your life,” he said. “I initially signed up to do this for a year; we ran a search and it wasn’t successful. It’s hard to get the quality of applicants you’re looking for when they don’t know who their boss will be.”

The College of Engineering dean search is overseen by the Korn Ferry recruitment firm. The other three searches are being conducted by committees based at UW.

Chad Baldwin, a UW spokesman, said Korn Ferry’s services cost the university roughly $75,000, plus travel costs.

“For the dean searches not involving search firms, the exact cost is hard to pin down, because the main expenses are for travel and advertising,” Baldwin said in an email Wednesday. “I think it’s safe to say they’ll be considerably less than $55,000 apiece.”

Jones said the decision to hire a recruitment firm was based upon the significance given to UW Engineering programs by Wyoming officials.

“Part of it is related to the engineering initiative to become a tier one engineering school,” Jones said. “Perhaps there is more of an urgency to recruit a dean that is going to help the college get to that tier one status. That’s not to be dismissive of the other colleges by any means.”

Jerry Parkinson, a UW law professor and former dean of the college, is a member of the search committee for a new law school dean. Though the committee met only once last month, Parkinson said the group hopes to hire a new dean by the end of February.

“I think we’re eager to move forward and get the search underway and have a little more stability,” Parkinson said.

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Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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