Dean search continues

One year after Richard Caldwell resigned as dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), the search committee is still accepting applications.

The committee is looking for an exceptional candidate that “excites” all of the members, said Hasan Pirkul, School of Management dean and head of the search committee.

Ideal candidates should come from a research institution and understand the value of research, but also have considerable administrative experience and personality traits for leadership and management, Pirkul said.

The 14-member committee consists mostly of NSM faculty, but also includes representatives from other schools and two NSM students, according to the Office of the Provost.

John Ferraris, interim dean of NSM, said he has focused on the importance of progress and forward thinking.

“The new dean should not just try to hold the turf, but push the school ahead,” Ferraris said.

“Natural Sciences and Mathematics is a very critical school for this university so we need to make sure we have the right person to lead it,” Pirkul added.

One of the difficulties in selecting a dean is that the president for the university has not yet been chosen and he or she may have definite ideas concerning the candidates, Pirkul said.

From Ferraris’ experience, he said he feels that the future dean should be able to work both within NSM and other schools in the university.

The dean needs to spearhead a push to increase the number of NSM faculty and graduate students, along with an increase in research grants, Ferraris said.

“This is a great opportunity to align with the other schools in the university and create opportunities for interdisciplinary research,” Ferraris said.

President Franklyn Jenifer recalled the search committee for a second phase of the search in light of the $300 million commitment from the state of Texas, Texas Instruments and UTD to improve NSM and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering, according to Peggy Woodmansee, administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost.

Jenifer said he wanted to extend the deadline to increase the number of outstanding candidates and fulfill UTD’s long-term goals, she said.

The committee will search for as long as necessary until it finds a suitable candidate, Pirkul said.

The committee received 41 applications last year, two of which came from within the university, Woodmansee said. In the second phase of the search, started this year, the committee has received 28 more applicants, all from outside the university, but has eliminated the majority of them.

Some of the applications, however, were set aside for further consideration as the group continues its search, Pirkul said.

“We are still very early in the process of finding a suitable dean,” he added.

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