UTPA conducting national searches for two VP's and two deans
Posted: 05/21/2010
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Searches for two top administrative positions and two new college deans are underway at The University of Texas-Pan American.

The executive search firm of Witt/Kieffer was retained by the University to work on advertising the positions nationally, identifying qualified candidates and facilitating the logistics of arranging for interviews of top candidates selected by the search committees.

Search committees - composed of faculty, staff and students - were formed under the direction of UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen to commence the process to fill the positions of vice president for the Division of Business Affairs, now filled by James Langabeer, who will be retiring in August 2010, and vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs and Provost, necessitated by the move in April 2010 of Dr. Paul Sale, who returned to a full-time professorship in the College of Education.

The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Search Committee is headed by Dr. Edwin LeMaster, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, and Dr. Danika Brown, associate professor of English. A tentative timeline indicates the recruitment process will begin in May, the selection of candidates in July, campus interviews conducted in early September and a final selection made before the end of September.

Heading the search committee for a new vice president for business affairs is Dr. John Edwards, current vice president for the Division of Enrollment and Student Services. Recruitment for this position began in March and it is planned to present the candidates selected and conduct interviews in June, with the final selection made by President Nelsen in early July.

Search committees were also formed to help fill the two new dean positions. Two new deans are necessitated by the split of the current College of Science and Engineering at UTPA into two colleges beginning in the fall 2010 semester. The split was recently approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The split into two colleges - the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Science and Mathematics - was seen as more conducive to serve the burgeoning student enrollment at UTPA in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines and to better position UTPA to build an infrastructure for the Rio Grande Valley and the state. The current dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Dr. Edwin LeMaster, who has served as the College of Science and Engineering dean since 2005, will also retire in August 2010, so a new dean will be required for each college.

The Search Committee for the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science is headed by Dr. Javier Kypuros, associate professor of mechanical engineering. Dr. Fred Zaidan III, associate professor of biology, is Search Committee chair for the new dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Each of those committees includes a faculty representative from each department that will be in each college and a student representative.

Three candidates for each dean position were selected for on-campus interviews and the faculty, staff and students have been advised of town hall forums that have been held to meet and hear from each candidate. Campus visits for the candidates were held May 13-20. Vitae for the candidates interviewed are available at the Academic Affairs Web site at search). These positions are planned to be filled by the start of the 2010 fall semester.

Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez, interim provost/vice president for Academic Affairs, said there has been a great deal of interest, enthusiasm and involvement by faculty, staff and students in the interviewing process.

"Selection of a dean for each of these colleges is one of the most important decisions that will be made at UTPA in the years to come. The more feedback we have from those who will be primarily impacted, the better the decision making will be," she said.

Advertisements for the vice president positions can be found at the Human Resources Web site at Inquires, nominations, and applications are welcomed. Questions related to the search can be directed to Alice Miller, Witt/Kieffer consultant, at 678/302-1565.