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July 23, 1998

Deadline extended in UCSUR search

The search committee for a permanent director of the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) has extended its deadline for nominations from July 15 to Sept. 15. UCSUR conducts and facilitates interdisciplinary social science research on regional and national issues of public policy. Richard Schultz has served as interim director since 1995.

According to committee chair George E. Klinzing, vice provost for research, "We re-thought the timing. It was just too fast, given the absence of many in the University community. We pushed the deadline back in order to get more input." At the first of two open forums held July 14, Klinzing laid out the committee's charge. "We basically follow the guidelines as set up by the University and the University Senate. The provost [James Maher] told us what the criteria should be: The position is open to all tenured, internal faculty members, regardless of discipline. The committee will do the preliminary screening and submit three unranked names to the provost. Our 'outside' date for having someone in place is January of '99." The second open forum will be scheduled in September, after Klinzing surveys committee members' availability. Klinzing declined to reveal the current number of candidates.

At the July forum, Robert B. McCall, director of the Office of Child Development, an UCSUR component, asked the committee for clarification on the type of person they are seeking.

"At this point, the center is a collage of projects. The projects are fine; they are more or less funded by separate outside sources," McCall said. "Does the University want the center to be a holding company for projects and want a director to gather more such projects? Or, if UCSUR is to be a more active force, to venture into new directions, to be a catalyst to develop different kinds of projects — it could be a community partnering organization; it could actively promote faculty/community development [in areas] such as welfare reform; it could go into urban redevelopment issues — then the director needs to be a committed full-time and community-oriented administrator and not a part-time administrator and [part-time] facilitator of pet projects."

Klinzing responded to McCall's statements by saying, "We'll want to hear what the candidates say about these matters, what their vision for the center might be." Other concerns raised at the forum include the extent of dual appointments and cross affiliations of faculty; the state of the center's current facilities; whether there is a need to establish a board of visitors, in order to involve non-University affiliated people, and whether that board should have a local, regional or national base. UCSUR currently is advised by a program policy committee consisting of University affiliates.

"All these things will greatly help the committee in framing questions for the candidates and in evaluating candidates," Klinzing said.

–Peter Hart

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