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Media School dean search committee to narrow down candidates to finalists this month

The search committee plans to bring four or five finalists to campus mid-February.

<p>Franklin Hall is seen Jan. 25, 2022, on East Kirkwood Avenue. A search committee for the Media School met before summer 2021 to begin the process of searching for a new dean. </p>

Franklin Hall is seen Jan. 25, 2022, on East Kirkwood Avenue. A search committee for the Media School met before summer 2021 to begin the process of searching for a new dean.

The Media School’s founding dean James Shanahan announced in January 2021 he would step down as dean and stay on faculty as a professor. Since then, Walter Gantz was named interim dean, and a search committee met before summer 2021 to discuss the search for a new dean.

Peg Faimon, founding dean of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, is chairing the search committee. She said the committee is in the semi-finalist stage. They hope to narrow the semi-finalist group, typically around eight to 10 people, to four or five finalists.

Faimon said the committee plans to bring the finalists to campus mid-February. She said she could not discuss how many candidates were internal or external.

According to the Provost’s website, the search committee is made up of 15 members. Faimon said there is an undergraduate student representative and a graduate student representative. There is also someone from the Media School Dean’s Advisory Board and someone from Shanahan’s alumni advisory board, she said. 

Multiple staff members, including a development officer, have positions on the committee, Faimon said. The faculty members include both non-tenure track faculty members and tenured faculty members. 

“Committees like this are formed to try to represent a wide group of the constituents of the school,” Faimon said.

Faimon said the student representatives are in all the meetings and are equal to the other members of the committee.

The committee received feedback from multiple constituent groups, Faimon said. She said there were open forums for undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni and faculty and staff.

“We did meet and got some really good feedback from both the undergrads and grads,” Faimon said. “That has been incorporated.” 

The open forum meetings were before the committee wrote the position description, Faimon said. The description includes a list of desired qualifications and characteristics for a new dean. 

Some of the characteristics include, “demonstrated commitment to student success” and “a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” 

Faimon said an official start date for a dean will not be determined until the committee can negotiate one with the chosen candidate. This depends on the candidate’s professional and personal obligations, she said.

“We absolutely want somebody in place by the fall,” she said. “But usually a dean will start in the late spring, summer.”

Allison Wylie, an IU junior and sports media major in the Media School, said she took a class with Shanahan.

“I really, really liked him,” she said. “I thought he was a very caring individual.”

She said she would love the new dean to be caring and driven about the Media School’s future like Shanahan was as dean.

Madlean Koehler, a junior and media major, said she transferred to IU last semester. She said she wants a dean who keeps the facilities up to date and continues to make more internship and travel abroad opportunities available.

“It’d be great to expand that, or at least get the word out about any existing programs,” Koehler said. 

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