Since Dr. Joi Lewis left her post as Vice President and Dean of Student Services in April this year, a search committee of students and faculty has been working with a consultant agency to find her replacement.
As with most of Mills executive and administrative hires, the school has hired Diversified Search, an executive search firm, to find candidates.
Vetting candidates for a position like Dean of Student life is executed in rounds. One wave occurred for the position of Vice President and Dean of Student Life, over the summer.
According to Sandra Greer, provost and dean of the faculty and also chairing the search committee, the firm sent Mills potential candidates from all over the country, and the search committee chose seven to bring to the Bay Area to interview them in person.
Greer referred to these as “airport interviews” because they are held at the Hilton near the Oakland International Airport.
Of those seven, three candidates were asked to come to campus and make presentations to the Mills community. Two candidates accepted the invitation and emails were sent out inviting students and faculty to attend these events and evaluate the candidates, said Greer.
Greer said that, rather than beginning a new wave of interviews, she and Mills President Alecia DeCoudreaux have decided to pause the search and not initiate another wave until after the school year has settled in and when possible candidates are more receptive.
“We are not in a big rush because we have a really good interim dean, Kathleen Rice is a delight and we are really enjoying having her here,” Greer said.
Rice, who began at Mills on July 2 of this year and has been involved with the hiring of her permanent replacement, said that she plans to stay with Mills for 6 months, making Greer’s initial goal to find a replacement for the position by January.
“You keep going ‘til you find someone,” Greer said.
Greer recognized that holding candidate presentations in August meant fewer people would be able to attend, but stressed that students should not feel left out of the process. She said all students will have a chance to give their feedback on any candidate that is seriously considered by the committee.
“We would do all that again,” she said, referring to repeating the search process and candidate presentations so more students could be apart of it. “We would either ask them to give the talk again, or a new one if it is a new candidate. We’re not at the end of this, we’re trying to take it at a measured pace to make sure we do a good job.”