Loyola University Chicago

Office of the Provost

Search Selection Process for new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

April 14, 2020

As announced this past Thursday, Father Thomas J. Regan, S.J., has been reassigned by the Father General and will become the Superior of Spellman Hall Jesuit Community at Fordham University. We will miss him greatly and appreciate his many years of leadership as dean of both the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Graduate School.

The focus of this message is to outline the process of searching for and selecting a new CAS Dean. In a separate message that will be shared later this week, we will announce the name of the new dean of the Graduate School, the result of a national search lead by a University search committee during this academic year.

We are initiating a search for Father Regan’s CAS successor in the most unusual of circumstances created by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on enrollment and the manner in which we will need to engage our academic work and students creates uncertainty yet potential opportunity for CAS in the next two to three years. This will no doubt shape our thinking and own decision-making as we balance the immediate needs while embarking on the development of a new academic strategy for the University lead by deans and faculty within our various schools. This strategy will require the new dean to lead a robust conversation with CAS faculty, students, and staff in a transformative process for the College integrated across all of the schools and institutes within the University.

Therefore, in the spirit of transparency, our process for searching for Father Regan’s successor will take a slightly different approach more appropriate for the current environment than what typical searches will look like in the future. What will not be different is that we will still embrace the spirit of shared governance, by closely collaborating with the faculty and seeking input, in this search.

Given these circumstances, our search for the dean of the CAS will focus on internal candidates with plans to select the new CAS dean by June 1, 2020, for an initial period of three years. This candidate will be a full-fledged dean, not an interim, empowered to make the difficult and nuanced decisions that this period of uncertainty requires. The process for the new CAS dean search was developed collaboratively by stakeholders across Loyola University Chicago, especially the CAS department chairs, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the President, and CAS Dean’s Office.

The search committee will be composed of CAS faculty, students, and staff. Although the committee is still under formation, its composition is clear. The first 18 members will be tenure and non-tenure track faculty members proposed by each CAS department. In addition, the committee will include a student, a staff person, and an associate dean all from CAS. Finally, Dean Goutham Menon from the School of Social Work has graciously agreed to chair the committee.

The search committee will work with the Office of the Provost to develop the position profile. Some of the attributes for the profile include being a good listener and understanding the academic diversity of CAS. Another attribute is having the ability to foster interdisciplinary work collaborating with the other deans.

With social distancing protocols in place, the interviews with the candidates for the dean will be conducted by Zoom. We will also put video and/or written statements by the candidates on a webpage specifically built for this process. Faculty, students, and staff will be able to use this webpage to provide comments and feedback about the candidates for the benefit of the search committee, the provost, and the president. As is typical in such searches, the committee will provide the top three names to the Provost and President in an unranked list.

While the search for a new CAS dean may be unusual for Loyola and different than the most recently completed dean searches for Law, Communication, Social Work, Education, Nursing, Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, and the Graduate School, these are unusual times for higher education and our world. The spirit of shared governance and feedback will continue to guide our internal and expedited search. Moreover, we are also fortunate to have strong faculty leaders in our potential pool of candidates who know Loyola and can lead resolutely and collaboratively as we face the future together.

Let me add in closing that our faculty, students, and staff have been heroic in the midst of this crisis, and they will continue to be the heroes in our march towards a better Loyola.

Together in Loyola,
Norberto Grzywacz, PhD, Provost and Chief Academic Officer