Friday, March 14, 2014

UF Pulls Plug on Dean Search

UF paid a search firm 90K to find a new dean. Add to that the cost of flying in and taking care of 8 candidates and then additional flying in and entertaining 4 more and I think you are pushing 150K easy. And, this does not count the time spent by all involved.

After  the 4 candidates candidates visited, the faculty voted that one was unacceptable and 3 candidates were passed on  the Central Administration. Today, three and a half weeks later, according to Florida Central Administration, "we did not find one ideally suited to lead the College through a decade that will be simultaneously challenging for the profession and replete with opportunities for growth and advancement."

In the meeting at which one candidate was eliminated, the committee Chair asked if the committee was willing to risk a failed search by virtue of eliminating that candidate. That should have been a signal. Why ask unless you had a hunch and that candidate was already the favorite of the Central Administration? If he was, does that mean a 150k sham search occurred because there was always only one acceptable candidate?

This is the harshest interpretation and I do not believe it although it is possible. I do not believe it in part because the Law School seems so unimportant to the Central Administration. (Except when it wants to bribe the law school to hire someone the law school would not otherwise hire.) But why wait for 3.5 weeks if the candidates were unacceptable and no offers were made at all. In fact, one candidate in the final three reports never hearing from anyone at UF.  Not a phone call to say "we are at the final stage and will let you know." Not a phone call to say, "you are in the final three, please let us know if anything changes in your situation." Nor even a phone call to say "You are not going to be part of or final considerations." In short,  there was evidently no concern during that time that the candidate could find something else. Arrogance squared. 

At best, a shameful process. At worst a sham. If you think a 49th ranking was unsatisfactory, fasten your seat belt and put on a helmet. 


Anonymous said...

Care to share your thoughts on how Acosta would have been as Dean?

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Complicated question. At first take, probably fine if there was a clean slate. He is bright and energetic. Maybe even better than fine. On the other hand, deans are not really bosses and can only do what the faculty permits. With a huge negative vote I am not sure he could have applied his talents.

Fred said...

What are the implications of all of this for students?

Anonymous said...

What consequences do you predict UF Law will face in the next few years?

Jeffrey Harrison said...

Not much in the short run. It depends on the next dean

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