Two candidates looking to become the next College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Dean will be visiting campus this week and participating in open forums.

Former CLA Dean Doug Epperson retired in August 2018 after holding the position since 2012.  Following Epperson’s retirement, English Professor Kathryn Rummell stepped into the interim role.

Provost and Executive Vice President Kathleen Enz Finken accepted the recommendation by the CLA Dean Consultative Search Committee, chaired by Theater and Dance Department Chair Josh Machamer, to invite two finalists for the position to visit campus. The candidates will be visiting Jan. 14 through Jan. 18.

Currently employed as the associate dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Oklahoma, Mitchell P. Smith has more than 20 years of higher education experience.After receiving his B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, Smith spent two years as an economic analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. He earned his M.P.A. Degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he studied international political economy, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Department of Politics.

Smith’s open forum will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15. 

Candidate Philip J. Williams, will be visiting later in the week with and is currently a political science professor as well as director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Beginning his career in political science in 1987, Williams has taught at four universities. He has written several books, most recently “Living ‘Illegal’: The Human Face of Unauthorized Immigration.”

Williams’ open forum will be held from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. 

Four previous candidates visited campus last May, but Enz Finken did not appoint a new dean at that time. 

“While this is not the outcome I anticipated, it is the best decision for the college and for the university at large,” Enz Finken wrote in an email to CLA students June, 2018. 

Following the decision to wait in appointing a new dean, executive search firm Isaacson, Miller looked at potential candidates over the summer and conducted a search in Fall 2018.

Committee members of the CLA Consultative Search Committee encouraged students and faculty to attend the open forums held in Philips Hall (building 6, room 124). Attendees and participants will be provided Candidate Comment Sheets to confidentially provide their comments at each open forum. All comments must be submitted by Monday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m.  

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