Indiana Daily Student

3 deans, 1 VP are interims

Deans handle budgets, bring in sponsors and make diplomatic trips for the different schools within IU.

They lead large academic units with hundreds and even thousands of students and faculty.

But when one dean leaves, a difficult and rigorous process goes into finding someone to take the spot, and during that time an interim dean has to be appointed.

“An interim does all of the jobs of a dean,” said Mohammad Torabi, dean of the School of Public Health. “But I would argue that it’s a bit more difficult, because when you’re an interim, people you talk to question if they’ll still be working with you in a few months.”

Torabi was named the permanent dean of the school Jan. 1 after serving almost two years as an interim dean and seeing the School of Public Health through its transition from being the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

At IU, there are 17 schools, three with interim deans. The University also currently has an interim vice president.

Hannah Buxbaum, interim dean, Maurer School of Law

Buxbaum became the interim dean of the law school in February 2012 when Lauren Robel, the previous dean, was appointed interim provost and executive vice president. Robel was approved as provost of the Bloomington campus in June 2012.

Buxbaum has taught in the law school since 1997, after she practiced law with Davis Polk and Wardwell, and currently teaches various courses, according to the Maurer website.  

Currently, the search for the new permanent dean is underway.

“I anticipate that a new dean will be found by the end of the semester,” Buxbaum said.  “But I don’t know much about the search because the provost conducts it.”

As for the duties as the interim dean, they don’t vary from that of the permanent dean.  

“I do as little different as possible as what the permanent dean would do,” Buxbaum said.  “I wouldn’t launch an initiative though, because I wouldn’t want the hands of the permanent dean to be tied by committing to initiatives.”

Idalene Kesner, interim dean, Kelley school of Business

Kesner was appointed as the dean of the Kelley school on Oct. 1, 2012, when Dan Smith left the position to become the president of the IU Foundation. Kesner came to IU in 1995, coming from a faculty position at the Kenan-Flager Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  

She is also currently the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management and the associate dean of faculty and research at the Kelley school, according to the Kelley website.  

The search for a new dean is also underway at Kelley.  

“I would anticipate that the position will be filled by July 1, 2013,” Kesner said in an email. “But ultimately this is up to the Kelley School faculty, the IU Provost and the IU President and the Board of Trustees.”

Michael Evans, interim dean, School of Journalism

Evans became the interim dean of the journalism school on July 1, 2012.  

He filled the spot of Brad Hamm, who was named dean of the Medill School, Northwestern University’s school of journalism.  

“I’m supposed to be interim dean through the possible merger and move to Franklin Hall,” Evans said.  “So that will be probably two or three years.”

IU has employed Evans since fall 1993. He has taught media culture, ethnographic research, international journalism, ethnic journalism and qualitative studies, in addition to serving as associate dean and interim dean of the School of Journalism.

Although Evans is a finalist for a deanship at University of Oregon, he plans to remain the interim through the potential merger of the School of Journalism and the departments of Communication and Culture and Telecommunications and the rest of the search for a new dean.

“They haven’t started looking yet,” Evans said. “They’re trying to figure out the merger and the move first.”

MaryFrances McCourt, interim University chief financial officer and vice president

McCourt became the CFO and interim vice president effective Jan. 1 after being the University treasurer.

McCourt was appointed to the IU treasurer position in 2005, leaving her previous job from Cleveland-based Agilysis Inc., where she was assistant treasurer, according to a press release from early December.  

Her appointment follows the leaving of Neil Theobald, who is the president of Temple University.  

“As the interim VP and CFO I manage the budget,” McCourt said. “I’m the senior official of all of the finances.”

As for a new vice president, the search is underway.

“The president hopes to have the spot filled by the end of the semester,” she said.  “There should be a small search.”

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