Six to eight candidates have been named as semi-finalists to replace Dean Lawrence Breitborde in the dean of the college search.
Although their names and backgrounds must remain confidential to ensure the highest quality of candidates, Chair of the Search Committee and History Department Chair Konrad Hamilton stated that candidates will be interviewed by the committee, President Teresa Amott and consulting firm Issacson and Miller Nov. 28-30 in Chicago.
“It’s a diverse pool,” Hamilton said of the applicants. “We have seen some things, on paper that really intrigued us and we’d want to talk to candidates more about.”
According to Hamilton, all semi-finalists are considered by the committee to be distinguished academics and scholars, although not all come from a current dean or higher administrative experience.
“For some people, I think, it would be a promotion. For others, it might be described more as a lateral move,” he said.
There is no doubt, however, that all candidates, at least on paper, seem to be a solid fit for Knox.
“All of the people who were interested in see something in the Knox experience that is new for them, a new challenge, a new opportunity to do something that they haven’t done before,” he said, noting that the semi-finalists come from a variety of academic disciplines. “They all have a certain baseline of academic work in administrative experience.”
As part of the “pre-interview squad”, Hamilton and the search committee aim to have invited the finalists to be interviewed by the campus in early January, although no definitive dates for those interviews or a final hire have been set.
In regards to the confidentiality, specifically the lack of names of the semi-finalists, Hamilton was adamant that the search process must be confidential for the privacy of individuals applying.
“A lot of times, those individuals are already at another job or not quite sure if they want to apply for this job,” he said, noting that the process has been similar to the hiring of President Teresa Amott two years ago. “You don’t want to put people like that in an awkward position.”
Hamilton has tried to be as transparent as the process allows him to be, briefing the Student Senate, faculty and the Board of Trustees as often as he can.
“One sure way to get people to withdraw from this search and not consider Knox College anymore is if they think that just by considering it and just by being considered by the committee that everyone is going to know about it,” he said of the privacy.
Come January, the finalists will be named and brought to campus. And when they are, Hamilton believes that the candidates will face questions from the Knox community regarding diversity, curriculum development, sustainability, and increasing study abroad opportunities, among others.