Eastern searching for vice presidents, deans

Analicia Haynes, Senior Reporter

Eastern announced several interim positions will be made permanent by next semester as part of an ongoing effort to fulfill vitalization project recommendations. 

The positions are vice president for business affairs, vice president for student affairs, dean for the College of Education, dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, executive director of Information Technology Services, director of admissions, and director of the Tarble Arts Center. 

Many university positions, such as vice president positions and dean positions, became vacant or interim positions during the Illinois budget impasse, and Eastern President David Glassman said it was difficult for the administration to fill those positions during the impasse. 

The Illinois budget impasse was the nation’s longest fiscal stalemate since at least the Great Depression, according to PBS News Hour. 

The budget crisis lasted 736 days beginning July 1, 2015 and ending August of 2017. During that time, the state was without a budget for fiscal years 2016, 2017 and part of 2018. 

Being interim means that the university has only done an internal search for the position, and the person in it is not in the position permanently, according to a November 2017 article in The Daily Eastern News.

Glassman said in the same article while it is not uncommon for universities to have employees serving on an interim basis, at that time the university had more than the usual number.

This was because individuals left the university for other jobs because of the impasse or in other cases retirements led to the vacancies, according to the article. 

Thus, people had to be put into the vacant positions quickly, leading to the number of interims, the article read. 

For example, in February 2016, Blair Lord, the former provost and vice president of academic affairs, announced his intention to retire during a Faculty Senate meeting. This came after Glassman announced 200 layoffs during the same meeting, all of which was a result of the budget impasse. 

After Lord announced his retirement, the university began a search to replace Lord by the following year and in April of 2017, Jay Gatrell was announced as the new provost. 

Glassman said it was difficult to fill the positions because it was a matter of finances for the university during the impasse and it was too hard to do many searches at the same time, especially after the impasse. 

However, the university had to prioritize which positions to fill immediately following the impasse. 

The most important position to fill was the provost position, Glassman said. Then he said the next position that needed to be filled was the vice president of university advancement, which was left vacant after Bob Martin left Eastern for a higher paying role at Central Michigan University. 

He said since it was a vacant position, those involved with university advancement such as alumni services reported directly to the president, something he said was not adequate. 

“That was a no brainer that we needed to go out and fill that position,” he said. 

That position was filled in June by Ken Wetstein.

Currently, there are two interim positions remaining in the President’s Council, Glassman said, which are the vice president of business affairs and vice president of student affairs. He said the university decided to start searches to fill both those positions this academic year. 

Paul McCann is the interim vice president of business affairs, and Lynette Drake is the interim vice president of student affairs. 

McCann, who was Eastern’s treasurer before his interim term, has been in his current position since 2014, after William Weber stepped down. Drake has been interim since 2016 after Dan Nadler left the university. 

Glassman said now that two years have passed since the impasse and things have stabilized in terms of the budget, the university can get those positions filled.

Glassman said the people in the interim positions could apply for the permanent position, however Drake already announced her retirement.

Search Status

The two dean searches are underway and the search committees are down to their second round of candidates, Glassman said. 

The chairs of the dean search committees are Zach Newell, the dean of Booth Library and Ryan Hendrickson, the dean of the graduate school. 

Jay Gatrell said at Eastern’s Tuesday Faculty Senate meeting that the goal is to have the dean finalist candidates visiting campus in January.

This does not mean they have the final candidates, it is just a smaller selection of candidates.

The director of admissions search committee is in place and applications are being received for that. 

The ITS position search has not started and Glassman said they are in the process of formulating a search committee.

The vice president of business affairs committee has been identified and ads have been posted. Gatrell is chairing the committee for that search, Glassman said. 

Steve Brantley, the professor and head, research, engagement and scholarship at Booth Library, sits on the committee searching for the vice president of business affairs said the committee is searching for a “collaborative leader.”

The search for a director of the Tarble Arts Center is going on right now and a committee is in place. 

The search for the vice president for student affairs has not started because a search committee has not been selected. 

Glassman said he will be creating a search committee within the next week or two. 

This is because he was alerted of Drake’s retirement less than two weeks ago. 

The first positions that will be filled will be the dean positions. 

Glassman said dates for those dean candidates coming to campus will be announced before winter break and the final candidates will most likely come to campus for open session interviews in January.  

JJ Bullock contributed to this article.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]