October 5, 2007

Search firm kicks off hunt for dean

Two representatives of search firm Witt/Kieffer were on campus last week to start work on determining what kind of person would be best suited to become the next WSU School of Medicine dean.

At an open meeting in Scott Hall, Anne Zenzer and Dr. Richard von Rueden, Witt/Kieffer representatives who will be leading the search, fielded questions about the search and discussed qualities important in a dean to the WSU School of Medicine community.

One of the recurring themes expressed, Ms. Zenzer said, was a dean with a strong research emphasis.

"It is the duty of the dean to essentially move the bottom line to get us up in NIH funding," said Linda Hazlett, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology.

Several students who attended the meeting said they would like a dean who is visible and engaged.

"There's a solid desire to have a dean that is approachable," said Brendan Burns, Year II. "If there's a problem with the administration, we'd like to have a way to present that."

During their trip, Ms. Zenzer and Dr. von Rueden also interviewed many key decision-makers and constituents, which included WSU Provost Nancy Barrett, members of the WSU School of Medicine Dean Search Committee, faculty, alumni and DMC partners among them. Using this input, the firm will develop a position description, which once it is approved by the WSU search committee, will be circulated widely to generate interest.

"This will be the roadmap for the kind of person we're looking for in terms of experience level and personality traits," Ms. Zenzer said.

If the search proceeds at a relatively normal pace, a new dean could be selected within several months.

In the interim, however, Gary Abrams, chair of the search committee, said it will be up to the School of Medicine to sell itself to potential candidates. He urged those present not to underestimate the school.

"Let's never sell ourselves short," he said. "I'll take the top third of Wayne State students and I'll put them up against the top third of students anywhere in the country. They'd compete as well as Harvard students and probably be better doctors."

Throughout the search process, please visit the Dean Search Committee website at http://www.med.wayne.edu/admin/deansearch/index.asp for further information and updates. All nominations for the position, including those from the WSU School of Medicine faculty, are welcome. Please forward them to Anne Zenzer, of Witt/Kieffer, at annez@wittkieffer.com.



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