LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication expects to continue its search for a new dean throughout the 2021-2022 academic year after the previous finalists were dismissed in April. In the meantime, Joshua Grimm will continue to serve as interim dean of the college.
The search process for the next dean is extensive, Grimm explained. The search committee, comprised of 13 faculty and staff members, receives a large pool of candidates then immediately narrows the list down to 10-12 semi-finalists based on the information presented in the application process. Those candidates are interviewed via Zoom, and the list is further reduced to a select group of finalists.
The finalists then come to campus and meet with a host of individuals involved in the LSU community, such as the provost, vice provosts, deans, the student media director, as well as faculty, staff and students of the college.
From there, the provost listens to feedback from the community and makes a final decision on who will be the next dean. In last year's case, Provost Stacia Haynie decided to continue the search instead of appointing one of the two finalists.
Following that decision, Haynie wrote in an email that "it was clear that there was a consensus among the faculty, staff, students, and alumni that the search for the next dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication should continue."
Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle chaired the committee over the past year and said "there is not anything particularly unusual" about Haynie deciding to continue the search after being presented with the finalists.
"Next year is an ideal time to search for a new leader for the Manship School: the worst of the pandemic is over, and the various departments have been able to talk more about what they want in a new leader," Earle said. "The faculty and students have never been stronger."
Grimm said that he does not serve on the search committee but is actively involved in the process at the same level as other faculty, staff and students.
"It looks like the candidates did not clear the bar, for whatever reason," Grimm said. "I think they both had strengths, but based on committee feedback there were also hesitations – enough that didn't warrant bringing them in for the position."
Grimm said that he is not up for the position of permanent dean because he is currently an associate professor and the position requires a full professor. Both are tenured positions, with a full professor being a higher level than associate.
"It is what it is," Grimm said. "I'm happy to stay in my position and serve as interim. My goal is to help in any way I can to make sure the Manship school is moving forward. We need to make sure we're adapting and being as agile and creative as possible to put the school in the best position to succeed."
Grimm said that his time serving as interim dean has been "a lot of work but so rewarding." He plans to return as associate dean once a permanent candidate has been selected, but ultimately that will be a decision for the incoming dean.
The search committee will reconvene over the summer to determine who will stay on the committee and who will step down to allow other faculty the opportunity for input. Earle said he assumes he will not chair the committee next year.
"My bold prediction: a terrific new dean will start next summer, and in the meantime the Manship school is in phenomenal hands with Dr. Grimm at the helm," Earle said.