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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students will be involved in presidential search, but not on search committee

Published: October 9, 2009
Section: Front Page

Though Board of Trustees Chair Malcolm Sherman has promised that faculty and students will be involved in the search for the next president of the university, the capacity to which they will be involved on the actual search committee is yet to be determined.

Sherman said he aims to formulate a presidential search committee of roughly ten members in “the next couple of weeks” in order to start looking for a new university president.

The committee would be responsible for reading all of the applications of potential candidates, and deciding on three finalists, and then making a recommendation to the Board.

Of those ten people, Sherman said, he wants a majority to be members of the Board of Trustees.

“Finding the next president is the trustees’ responsibility,” Sherman said. “It is the most significant responsibility the trustees have.”

There is a possibility that one or two faculty members would be included on the search committee, however Sherman said that number “has not been nailed down.”

“We want to make sure the committee is not so big it is unwieldy,” Sherman said.

No students will be included on the search committee.

There will, however, be two “consultative” committees, one for students and one for faculty that would help shape the search committee’s ideas of what to look for in the next president.

Student Union President Andy Hogan ’11 said the role of these committees would be twofold.

First, the committees would help “formulate the idea of what the next president should look like and how we want Brandeis to look in 2020.”

Second, the committees would interview the three finalists chosen by the search committee and make recommendations to the committee.

Hogan said he hopes there will be six to ten students on the student advisory committee.

Students can apply to be on the committee via a link Hogan e-mailed to the student body Wednesday night. Members of the committee will be chosen by Hogan and Student Representatives to the Board of Trustees Heddy Ben-Atar ’11 and Jonathan Kane ’10.

Hogan hopes to have the student advisory committee formulated by the next meeting of the Board of Trustees on Oct. 28.

Sherman said he hopes the committees will be able to choose a candidate in time for the start of the 2010-2011 academic year: however, he said “we do not want to settle for someone who is convenient. We want the absolute best.”

“I hope we can find someone by the start of next year, but if we don’t find someone good, we don’t, and we’ll keep looking,” Sherman said.

Sherman also said the Board has already heard from “a number of individuals who have shown interest” in applying for the job as president of the university.

Sherman would not further comment about those individuals.