Faust Asks Council For Search Advice

Allston, curriculum seen as big issues in dean search; profs call for ‘integrity’

President-elect Drew G. Faust paid a visit to the Faculty Council meeting yesterday afternoon, soliciting advice on the search for a new dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

Faust, who requested the meeting with the Faculty’s top governing body, is expected to name a new dean as one of her first acts as she prepares to move into Mass. Hall on July 1.

Faust asked the 18 professors on the council for their thoughts on the search, prompting a private discussion of the qualities that they hope to see in a new dean, according to Weary Professor of German and Comparative Literature Judith L. Ryan.

“It is no secret that all of us want to see the dean possess integrity, to have leadership skills, and enjoy the trust of the faculty,” Ryan said.

Professor of the History of Science Everett I. Mendelsohn, who is also a council member, said that the group discussed the challenges an incoming dean might face. In an interview, Ryan cited the Allston expansion and the curricular review as two of the biggest issues facing the next FAS dean.

Ryan said Faust had asked for suggestions of individual candidates in an earlier e-mail. Yesterday’s meeting was intended to solicit input prior to the submission of those suggestions, Ryan said.

Administrators, including interim FAS Dean Jeremy R. Knowles, left the room during the discussion of the search.

Before Faust’s arrival, the council hashed through proposed curricular review legislation, slated for introduction at the next full meeting of the Faculty in April. The council is in the process of translating the recommendations of the general education report into that legislation.

“We did not go over substantive issues so much as strategic, procedural stuff, the grunt work to prepare a very complex piece of legislation,” Mendelsohn said.

The final version of the general education report was released in February, and the legislation drawn from it should be circulated as early as this week, according to Mendelsohn.

Ryan, who is a member of the three-person committee charged with drafting the legislation, said the group tried to preserve the language used in passages of the general education report. The committee’s aim, she said, is to “provide a document to focus discussion.”

—Staff writer Carolyn F. Gaebler can be reached at