After failing to find a replacement for the retired Dean of Students this past spring, a new search committee formed this fall is again looking for candidates to fill the position.

Linda Green, a spokeswoman for the Division of Student Affairs, said the previous committee interviewed several candidates. She wouldn’t say what prevented the University from hiring any of them.

“Several candidates were brought to campus and they went through the interview process and the result was we didn’t make a hire, and so we had to start over the process,” she said.

Now, the search committee for the administrator charged with overseeing students’ issues has adopted several changes in hopes of finding a replacement for Sue Eklund, who retired last year. The new search committee will work with a new consulting company, Greenwood/Asher and Associates, which specializes in executive search, consulting and training.

The committee has expressed an interest in getting more students to participate in the search process. Both undergraduate and graduate students can fill out evaluation forms to give their input to the committee. University administrators will also host forums for the final candidates so students can interact and pose questions to the finalists.

Donica Varner, the University’s assistant general counsel, stressed the importance of student participation in the selection process.

“It is critical for students to have access to the administration and for the administration to have access to student opinion. The (dean) is a critical partner in building and maintaining that relationship. Students should participate in the on campus interview,” said Varner.

The new search committee consists of representatives from different offices throughout the University, including LSA Student Academic Affairs and the Office of New Student Programs.

The committee will have three student representatives. LSA senior Daniil Gunitskiy and Michigan Student Assembly President Sabrina Shingwani are the two undergraduate representatives. Dentistry student Tiffany Tsang, a graduate student research assistant, represents the graduate students.

Varner said the dean’s role is to oversee organizations like the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, Greek Life organizations, Counseling and Psychological Services, Expect Respect and Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs. The Dean of Students also directs the University Health Service and the Program on Intergroup Relations, among others.

Varner said the Dean of Students also works with students on a personal level if they encounter an emergency. Last year, the Dean of Students Office helped a group of students who were temporarily displaced when a fire destroyed their off-campus house. More commonly, the office aids students adjust their courseloads if they’ve missed significant time due to illness.

Shingwani, a member of the Dean of Students search committee, emphasized the importance of the new dean in the daily lives of University students.

“The search process is essential to students because the (dean) directly impacts student life and oversees a lot of offices that also directly impact students,” Shingwani said. “Students go to these offices every day.”

An ad for the position was psoted last September. Finalists will be selected through an interview process. Varner said finalists would be announced by February 2009 and a final decision by March 2009.

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