Presidential applications close, decision to be made by spring

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Interim President Dr. John Plotts converses with visitors on the Mall. Photo courtesy of udallas.edu.

As of Nov. 16, the application window for presidential candidates at the University of Dallas officially closed.

Richard Husseini, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, offered no insight into who the applicant pool includes but gave assurances that the committee is optimistic about UD’s future. The input from the university’s students and faculty regarding a profile for the next leader at UD was well received by the search committee, Husseini wrote in an email responding to questions from The University News.

“Our search committee greatly appreciates the quality and quantity of feedback it has received from the greater UD community in support of its work,” Husseini wrote. Your search committee is very busy.”

According to a timeline on the presidential search website, the search committee recruited and evaluated candidates through mid-November. The evaluation will be followed by preliminary interviews and a selection of finalists through December. Finalists will be interviewed in January 2019 until a final selection is made. An announcement of the new president is expected in February, with the new president officially taking office in July.

The search committee is “still adhering to that timeline,” wrote Husseini.

However, due to confidentiality, Husseini declined to comment on specifics of possible applicants, such as age, gender or number of applicants.

“To make the process as successful as it can be, I … must refrain from commenting further,” Husseini wrote.

Speculation has swirled around who might lead UD since the abrupt removal of President Thomas Keefe.

Keefe’s tenure was marked by clashes with faculty over competing visions for the university’s future, as well as concern about its short and long term financial health.

His effort to create a school of continuing education was criticized for eroding UD’s standards, and his decision to sell off significant parcels of land also drew scrutiny.  

Keefe’s departure opened an opportunity for new leadership, with no shortage of calls from alumni for a president with a close commitment to UD’s Core curriculum, its high standard of academic rigor and its Catholic identity. 

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