Search committee reviews resumes for new dean of students

A selection committee is looking for a replacement for former Dean of Students Burgwell Howard. This summer, Howard was named vice president for student engagement in student affairs.

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A selection committee is looking for a replacement for former Dean of Students Burgwell Howard. This summer, Howard was named vice president for student engagement in student affairs.

Junnie Kwon, Reporter

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A search committee to choose a new dean of students hopes to find a candidate who can live up to the standards set by Burgwell Howard.

Applications for the position were due Oct. 5. Administration, faculty, staff and students on the Dean of Students Search Committee will assess the merits of each applicant, narrowing down the pool to three potential deans who will be invited to visit Northwestern for a couple days of interviews. Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin, who is temporarily filling the vacant position, will make the final decision.

“We’re looking for someone who has had experience … that can bring some new ideas and certainly energy and leadership,” Telles-Irvin said. “We’re looking for someone who has strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills, someone that has a good rapport with students and understanding of student behavior.”

After Howard transitioned this past July into his current position as assistant vice president for student engagement, Telles-Irvin contacted The Spelman & Johnson Group, a search firm that will assist the committee.

“As a student on the committee, I can’t speak for all of the administrators, but we’re definitely looking for someone who obviously wants to work closely with Northwestern students,” said Sophie Friedman, Medill senior and NU Panhellenic Association vice president of membership. “I think that’s something Burgie has done really well in the past, of being very open to students just talking to him about whatever is on their mind.”

During the summer and early fall, the committee convened to brainstorm, unify members’ opinions and meet with a spectrum of people from different departments, Friedman said.

“It’s partially an honor, but it’s also quite a load of work,” said Steven Monacelli, Communication senior and Associated Student Government vice president for community relations. “It’s an important role, and we can’t afford to mess it up.”

Six students were chosen to participate in the committee based on their involvement with prominent student groups on campus, including ASG and PHA.

“From my knowledge from other previous selection committees, students have a serious role on the board – they’re not just there as a consolation prize,” Monacelli said.

Once the decision is final, the University will send out an announcement, Telles-Irvin promised.

“Searches are kind of funny, so you never know,” she said. “If all goes well, I’d love to have an announcement out by December, but that’s very ambitious, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

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