University News

U. looks to fill admin vacancies

Students will offer input in the final stages of selection for the deputy dean of the College

University News Editor
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In its second semester under President Christina Paxson, the University is currently searching for replacements for several key administrators who are stepping down for a variety of reasons.

Deputy Dean of the College Stephen Lassonde announced his departure last month — he will leave at the end of spring break to become dean of student life at Harvard. The search committee to select his successor had its first meeting yesterday and intends to find a candidate by the end of the semester, said Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn, who is chairing the committee.

The committee, which comprises four other administrators, one professor and one student, is seeking a “dynamic, collaborative and creative administrator,” according to the official job description for the position. Klawunn said the committee is conducting a “national search” that is open to internal candidates as well. The committee plans to solicit student input and have some students meet with finalists who will be identified later in the semester, she added.

The goal, Klawunn said, is to “get a replacement who can do as good a job as (Lassonde) has.”

Lassonde said his replacement should have strong multi-tasking and social skills, adding that the individual should be “able to keep the big picture in mind but also can really grasp the details of the work of each person in the office.”

In the months between Lassonde’s departure and his successor’s arrival, current Associate Dean of the College for Writing and Curriculum Kathleen McSharry will serve as interim deputy dean of the College. McSharry said she is preparing to assume three core responsibilities of the position — chairing the Committee on Academic Standing, serving as case administrator for the Standing Committee on the Academic Code and serving on the College Curriculum Council.

McSharry is working with Lassonde and Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron to delegate remaining responsibilities of the position to other members of the office, she said.

The University is also in the market for both a chief investment officer, who manages the endowment, and a chief information officer, who heads the University’s Internet Protocol infrastructure and technology efforts.

Cynthia Frost, the University’s former chief investment officer, retired at the end of 2012. The Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, has convened a subcommittee of its Committee on Investment to choose a replacement, The Herald reported in December. Frost was the University’s first and only chief investment officer, having arrived at Brown when the role was established in 2000. David Schofield and Ken Shimberg, both managing investors in the Investment Office, are currently serving as acting co-chief investment officers.

The search process to replace Vice President for Computing and Information Services Michael Pickett has just begun, with the search committee set to meet for the first time later this month, said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration and the committee’s chair.

The committee is expected to include four faculty members and four administrators, with a consultant set to help plan the search, which is taking place at the same time as several other universities’ searches for comparable positions, Huidekoper said.

Huidekoper cited Pickett’s “huge accomplishments” as a high bar for his successor to live up to, mentioning the renovation of the University’s data center, the establishment of a backup offsite location for its information, the replacement of several outdated information systems and stronger relationships with faculty members as part of Pickett’s legacy.

Vice President for Research Clyde Briant will step down at the end of this year after announcing plans last month to return to the engineering faculty. The search committee for his successor, which has been assembled but has not yet met, is chaired by Provost Mark Schlissel P’15, who said he has already solicited suggestions of potential candidates from among the faculty.

The Herald previously reported that the search committee plans to look at its senior faculty for a replacement before opening up the search to external candidates. The committee also comprises seven faculty members — the majority in the sciences and math — and Senior Associate Provost Elizabeth Doherty.

Schlissel said he was looking for “somebody with the vision to look across the Brown campus and identify areas of opportunity to enhance research here,” adding that the position entails administering a large research bureaucracy and representing the University’s research work elsewhere. Briant has testified before Congress, met with heads of federal research agencies and served on statewide committees, Schlissel said.

Schlissel is also leading the search to replace Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Edward Wing, who announced in November his intention to take a sabbatical at the end of this year and then return to the faculty.

The process is underway, Schlissel said, and there are plans to conduct interviews in two stages during March and April and select a successor by the end of the year. The University has advertised the position in a number of media outlets and is considering both internal and external applicants, said Schlissel, adding that there has been significant interest thus far.

A successful candidate would likely come from a leadership position at a medical school and would understand the many layers of administration and experience such a job demands, Schlissel said. “It’s a complicated, diverse job.”

To stay up-to-date, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

  1. How about replacing Klawunn? If she ever does anything, she does it only to cover her rear end.

  2. How about replacing Suarez at the Office of Student Life, who is clinically incompetent?

Comments are closed. If you have corrections to submit, you can email The Herald at