Editorial: National search would waste time and money

With Dean of the College Tuajuanda Jordan leaving the school, Lewis & Clark should search within its own community and amongst the current faculty to fulfill that position.

By Caleb Diehl and Zibby Pillote /// Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief

With four deans chosen in the last five years, Lewis & Clark needs to give serious thought as it parts with Dean of the College Tuajuanda Jordan to finding a replacement who will to develop a long-lasting relationship with students. Toward this end, President Barry Glassner made an unprecedented move last Tuesday, calling a forum to discuss faculty concerns about the selection process.

Faculty and Glassner debated the merits of external and internal searches. In an external search, LC scours the nation for candidates with enough publications and national prestige. This effort is expensive and time-consuming. An internal search limits the college to candidates who come forward from its own faculty and staff, people who have been around long enough to know our culture and our students. The forum came after faculty sent these points in an open letter to Glassner asking that LC choose the new dean from among current professors.

We support the efforts of faculty who signed the letter. Current professors know our students, meet with them many times throughout the week and call them by name. They know what LC values, a social justice focus and curriculum that spans a range of academic disciplines. If the goal is to build up the community, then the candidate we need must come from the community.

In the search, faculty and deans must keep the focus on the welfare of students. We need a leader who will not stand apart from the community or spend long hours away from the college adding items to their CV, but communicate with faculty and students. Students must get a say in the selection process. The President, faculty or the ASLC cabinet should hold a forum for students to hear their preferences for a new dean. We hope to end up with a dean who is not a resume builder, but a community builder.

Zibby Pillote is the editor-in-chief of the Pioneer Log. Her work has also appeared in The Portland Mercury and the Lewis & Clark College webpage. She likes to write about music and culture. Follow her @ZibbyPillote

Caleb Diehl is the managing editor of The Pioneer Log. His work has also appeared in The Park Record and on the Lewis & Clark School of Education and Counseling webpage. He is a contributing writer to the LC Journal for Social Justice.  Follow Caleb on Twitter @calebsdiehl

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