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Information about Dean Search for Students

Dean Lynn Videka is leaving her term as U-M SSW dean. A dean search is underway for the identification and recruitment of her replacement. Below are a few FAQs and information about how you can provide input to the dean search process.

Who selects the dean?

The Provost of the University (Provost Susan Collins) makes the final selection of the dean. The Provost is assisted by the Dean Search Advisory Committee that includes faculty, staff, and students from the School of Social Work, as well as other members of the University of Michigan community. The Search Advisory Committee met for the first time on April 8, 2021 at which point the Provost charged the committee to commence its work.

Who is on the Dean Search Advisory Committee and how are they selected?

Members of the Dean Search Advisory Committee are appointed by the Provost and include SSW faculty, staff, and students, as well as a dean from a UM unit. Members are listed here.

Who assists the Search Advisory Committee in the search process?

The work of the SAC is supported by staff within the Provost's Office who are responsible for communication and outreach efforts to SSW groups, scheduling informational sessions with other administrators at the UM, and coordination with the executive search firm.

The SAC and Provost Office staff work with a national executive search firm to assist in the process of recruiting candidates for the position of SSW Dean. The executive search firm of WittKieffer was selected to assist the SAC with its outreach and recruitment efforts.

Are any parts of the dean search process private? If so, why?

Certain parts of the search process are confidential. For example, the identity of candidates who are contacted and invited for early-stage interviews is kept confidential. This is done so that candidates can participate in the recruitment process without concern for their role and position at their current institution. Similarly, the names of candidates who are not selected for later rounds of interviews, are also kept private to avoid harm to their reputations.

How can I have input on the search?

The Dean Search Advisory Committee is holding several listening sessions with SSW students, staff, and faculty. Listening sessions provide opportunities for members of the SSW community an opportunity to comment on the SSW's current strengths and weaknesses, priorities, challenges and opportunities, and the key qualifications and attributes needed in a new dean.

An anonymous survey (SSW Outreach Survey) is also available online so that you can contribute your ideas and perspectives regarding the SSW community and the qualities and experiences needed in a new dean. You can also nominate individuals to be considered as candidates for SSW dean.

How will information from the Listening Sessions and anonymous survey be used?

Feedback collected from outreach efforts to the SSW community will help the SAC develop a position profile and to recruit qualified candidates.

The position description will be shared with a number of social work organizations locally and nationally. The executive search firm, WittKieffer, has an extensive network, which includes schools and organizations in social work and related areas.

What are the next steps in the search process?

Over the summer the SAC and the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer will be involved in active outreach and recruitment of prospective candidates for the dean position.

Linda Chatters and Todd Herrenkohl
Co-Chairs, Dean Search Advisory Committee

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