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Final Report of the Consultative Committee on the Selection of a Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences

The School of Arts and Sciences Dean Search Committee was convened by President Judith Rodin and Provost Stanley Chodorow on December 4, 1996. Members of the committee were: Janice Bellace (professor of legal studies and deputy dean, The Wharton School); Kent Blasie (professor of chemistry, SAS); Anthony Cashmore (professor of biology, SAS); Colin Diver (professor of law and dean, Law School); Oscar Gandy (professor of communications, Annenberg School); Lynn Hunt (professor of history, SAS); Natalie I. Koether (University trustee and chair, SAS overseers); Bruce Lenthall (doctoral student, SAS); Douglas Massey (Dorothy Swaine Thomas professor of sociology and chair, SAS), chair; John Richetti (professor of English, SAS); Mark Rosenzweig (professor of economics and chair, SAS); Justin Shellaway (SAS student); Ari Silverman (SAS student). Constance C. Goodman, Associate Secretary of the University, served as secretary to the committee.

In order to understand the issues and challenges facing the School of Arts and Sciences, the committee consulted widely with representatives of the School, as well as with members of the administration with the goal of finding a dean who could provide the intellectual vision and leadership necessary to maintain and strengthen the School's academic excellence in education and research. The committee sought candidates with distinguished scholarly records and significant administrative and management experience who could represent the School and its interests to other constituents both within and outside of the University. The search focused on engaging a chief academic officer of the School who could be responsible for all educational programs, research activities, planning, budgeting, development and faculty appointments. The committee sought a dean who could maintain and strengthen the School's excellence and guide it into the 21st Century.

The committee solicited nominations from SAS faculty, students, and alumni, as well as from peer institutions across the country. Advertisements were placed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Science, The New York Times, Black Issues in Higher Education, and Hispanic Outlook. In addition, the search firm of A.T. Kearney was engaged to assist the committee in identifying candidates.

In all, the Committee met 25 times and reviewed the credentials of 115 candidates, 16 of whom were women, 7 were identified as minorities; and 13 were faculty members of the School.

A total of 18 individuals were interviewed. At the completion of this process, and after careful deliberation, the committee submitted a set of recommendations to the president and provost, who subsequently announced the appointment of Dr. Samuel H. Preston, professor of sociology and director of Penn's Population Studies Center, as the new Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. The appointment will be submitted to the Trustees of the University for final approval at the Stated Meeting to be held on February 20, 1998.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, January 20, 1998, Volume 44, Number 18