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May 12, 2014 — University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity is moving ahead with searches to fill several top UW administrative positions now held by interim leaders.
“Moving forward on developing the next generation of UW leaders is one of my top priorities for the second half of 2014,” McGinity says. “I would hope that we will have identified a permanent vice president for academic affairs and a permanent dean for the College of Engineering and Applied Science during the first half of the fall semester, and then be in a position to proceed with searches for the deans of the College of Business, the College of Education and the College of Law in the succeeding months.”
McGinity, who was appointed president of the university by the board in January, says details of the individual searches are to be determined, but that the process is getting underway. He updated the UW Board of Trustees on his plans during last week’s board meeting.
Work has begun on a search for a dean for the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Input for that search is being solicited from the leadership and faculty of the college, and soon will be solicited from the broader university community.
The president’s next priority is the search for a vice president for academic affairs, as Maggi Murdock, who has filled the position since January on a temporary basis, will return to her faculty post in the Department of Political Science this month.
“The entire university community is grateful that Dr. Murdock stepped up and took on responsibility for academic affairs this past semester at a time when the university really needed her,” McGinity says. “She has worked tirelessly over the last four months on a number of important academic issues. Maggi put her life plans on hold so she could help bring stability to our leadership situation, and her service to the institution during this particular time has been invaluable.”
Murdock, who had stepped down as UW’s associate vice president for academic affairs and Outreach School dean in spring 2013, agreed to leave her faculty post to return to the administration on a temporary basis in January as interim vice president for academic affairs -- when McGinity was named president.
“Maggi’s departure from my administration to some degree reflects differences the two of us had on a few particular issues, although there definitely were more items upon which we did agree -- including the need to begin searches to fill administrative positions, including hers,” McGinity says.
The president says he asked Murdock to move to a position in the Office of the President to redesign UW’s relationship with the state’s community colleges, but she declined. He says the lack of a single person in the UW administration to oversee interactions with community colleges has led to a number of long-standing complications in UW-community college relations.
“I felt her experience and skills would be much better used in an area that involves Academic Affairs, but actually includes several other functional areas of the university,” McGinity says. “As president, it’s my responsibility to deploy the talents that are available to the highest and best uses for the university, and that’s what I was attempting to do.”
During the upcoming search, Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs David Jones will serve as interim vice president for academic affairs. Jones, UW professor of communication disorders, was appointed as an interim associate vice president in October.
A graduate of Westminster College (Pa., 1980) with a B.S. in biology and the University of Iowa with an M.A. (1983) and Ph.D. (1987) in speech pathology, Jones taught at the University of Iowa and Indiana University at Indianapolis before joining the faculty at UW in 2001. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Jones has served on a number of college and university-wide committees. He served as the associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Health Sciences from 2007 to 2013.