Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Search for Dean of Graduate Studies and Research failed

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Southeast’s search for a dean of Graduate Studies and Research came to a close as Provost Mike Godard announced the decision to fail the search.

The reason for failing the search on March 26, Godard said, was because they were unsuccessful in hiring a viable candidate for the position, and they are no longer looking at applicants or advertising the position at this time.

“We did bring on three finalists to campus, and after I'd gotten the recommendations from the search committee, I then looked over all the other constituent feedback and made the decision that at this point, we didn't have the right candidate at the right time to fill the needs that we have in that position,” Godard said.

One quality Godard was looking for in a candidate was leadership, and that impacted his decision to fail the search.

“This was an effort for us to kind of provide some definitive leadership in that area,” Godard said. “Unfortunately, we weren't successful finding the right candidates at the right time.”

The duties and responsibilities of the would-be position have fallen with the Provost Office, and will continue to do so with the failure of the search.

“I'm very comfortable continuing to take on these roles and responsibilities through my office and to make sure that we still have everything in place to be able to have strategic growth with our graduate programs,” Godard said. “I want us to look forward and look innovatively as we look to better serve our students moving forward. I think we're doing a great job serving our students right now, but that does not mean that we can't improve.”

This position would have been new at Southeast, although the responsibilities have been shared among other positions in the past, according to Godard.

In 2016, former Dean of Online Learning Allen Gathman served as the interim dean of graduate studies. His expanded role shouldered some of then-Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Students Chuck McAllister’s responsibilities, as McAllister was appointed interim director of Institution Research after the retirement of Kang Bai, according to the university website. Gathman retired in May 2017, and the position or one similar has not existed since.

Godard described the ideal candidate for the position as someone who has been a faculty member at the assistant, associate or full professor level, have at least five years of administrative academic experience and someone who is able to work across programmatic lines to find “interdisciplinary approaches for us to deliver quality, graduate education for our students.” The ideal candidate should also be someone who is innovative on their thinking and their approach to their duties, Godard said.

One of the primary reasons Godard cited for failing the search was because he felt none of the candidates were able to fulfill some of the strategic graduate program growth initiatives Godard had in mind, which he believes will “continue to be critical for the institution.”

“Well, we're really looking to strategically grow some of our graduate programs that we currently have to be able to better serve the needs of the region and the needs of the state in terms of workforce needs and workforce development needs in particular,” Godard said.

Godard said the growth initiatives he had in mind center around the university’s delivery formats for graduate students. He wants to provide programs that could potentially have a pathway for undergraduate students to transition directly into graduate programs.

With $3.7 million being withheld from Southeast’s state appropriations after Missouri Gov. Parson’s recent cut to higher education, Godard said it makes sense to “hit the pause button for a little bit” with major university decisions such as hirings.

There is not a plan to reopen the search at this time.