Hiring of Chair in Mathematics and Statistics

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The new Dean of COAS came in with a budget for an outside chair search in the department of Math & Stat and formed a search committee with a chair from a different department, four Math & Stat faculty, and a couple of others. Some Math & Stat senior faculty offered to serve on the committee but were told no. The search committee identified two good prospective candidates and were favored by most in the department survey, but the COAS dean offered the position to neither one and announced an internal search for a permanent chair. An internal interim chair was not considered acceptable last year, and last August the department was assigned a faculty member from a different department as an interim chair. Can you please explain how the sources of discord in the department have disappeared when dispirited faculty feel otherwise?

Response by Provost Chally: 

I am not sure that I understand the question posed in the last sentence.  However, the decision to do an external search for the Chair of Mathematics and Statistics was made by the Interim Dean Dan Moon in consultation with Provost Earle Traynham. Dean George Rainbolt selected the interim chair. After he arrived, Dean Rainbolt met individually with each member of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and attended multiple Department meetings. The search committee, of which a majority were Mathematics and Statistics faculty, was composed to reflect the many units at UNF who have a stake in mathematics and statistics. He also met with the external candidates and reviewed their application materials. After these meetings with the faculty and this review of the external candidates, Dean Rainbolt came to the conclusion that there were multiple good internal candidates to be chair of the Department and that neither of the outside candidates was a good fit. Therefore, he closed the external search, opened an internal search, and requested that the budget for an external chair be converted to funds for an additional instructor. I agreed with Dean Rainbolt’s view of the situation and granted his request. The standard procedures for internal searches were followed and Dr. Richard Patterson was selected as chair. Although issues remain, the Department seems to be on the right path.

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