First forum on new dean of students missing student input


The first public forum for Pitt's search for a new dean of students was missing a crucial element — student attendees.

Even though the meeting on March 10 was meant to gather feedback from students, short notice for the event, which was announced late Monday, left the virtual room empty.

However, there will be plenty of other opportunities for the Pitt community to share their thoughts on the search, said Marc Harding, vice provost for enrollment and the chair for the national search committee.

The next open forum will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. today, and members of the Pitt community also can share their thoughts on the search through a community survey, which doesn’t have a specific end date yet.

The forum follows a recent announcement that Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner will take on a new role with University leadership as vice provost for student affairs and step away from his role as dean of students. This is a part of Pitt’s plans to reorganize the scope of Student Affairs to better serve Pitt’s regional campuses.

Bonner will stay in his current role until a new dean is selected. 

Harding said the search timeline will be “pretty aggressive.” The goal is for a new dean to be selected by the start of the fall 2021 semester.

The job description is still being fleshed out, Harding said, and community feedback will play a crucial role in its development until it's completed toward the end of March. 

The University will work with the search firm Keeling and Associates to develop a confidential, diverse pool of candidates, and plans to gather applications from roughly late March to late April, Harding said.

The search committee, which is still being formed, will include faculty and graduate and undergraduate student representatives. 

Committee members will review applications around late April or early May, Harding said, and the Pitt community ideally would interact with finalists from mid-to-late May.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905. 


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