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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Due to a lack of consensus among committee members, the dean search committee for UF's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences submitted a recommendation to the provost that doesn't endorse any specific action.

Committee members worked late into Thursday night drafting the recommendation, which lists pros and cons of stopping the search and evaluates one of the candidates, Paul D'Anieri, University of Kansas CLAS associate dean of humanities.

The report included an analysis of ceasing the search because two of the original four finalists withdrew this month.

The recommendation does not mention the other remaining finalist, Barbara Romzek, University of Kansas CLAS associate dean of social sciences.

UF Provost Janie Fouke wrote in an e-mail that she was satisfied with the committee's report. Although the committee members didn't offer a specific course of action, Fouke said it's appropriate because she asked for their analysis.

"The fact that they only evaluated one candidate points to the limited diversity of the pool of folks who were interviewed," she wrote.

She wrote that she would decide the next step after reading the report further.

Pramod Khargonekar, search committee chairman, said after the meeting that the committee felt it would be inappropriate to comment on Romzek because the faculty's perception of her might have been tainted by the announcement of UF's administrative restructuring, which came three days before her campus visit.

UF President Bernie Machen announced March 14 that budget operations formerly handled by the Office of the Provost would be transferred to Matt Fajack, UF's chief financial officer. Machen also announced that Fouke would resign June 30.

D'Anieri visited UF before the announcement was made.

The committee was divided on whether to cancel the search. In an informal vote, five committee members, including Khargonekar, wanted to stop the search.

"How much faith can I have in the result because the process has been so topsy-turvy as best?" Khargonekar asked during the meeting.

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Khargonekar, who is also UF's College of Engineering dean, said he didn't want to bring a new dean in without a "ground-swell" of faculty support for that candidate.

A poll conducted by the president's advisory committee on the dean's search found that of the 25 percent of CLAS faculty who voted, 58 percent recommended D'Anieri.

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