The University of Mississippi has begun a national search for a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts after former Dean Glenn Hopkins retired in June.
Richard Forgette has taken on the role of interim dean as the Office of the Provost prepares its search for a new dean.
“He’s experienced in various issues regarding academic affairs,” said Noel Wilkin, member of the Office of the Provost. “He seemed like the most appropriate choice to take on the interim leadership of that college.”
There will be a national search for the new dean, and Wilkin said they are currently in the process of determining who will serve on the search committee.
Wilkin said this is a decision that will take time and will not be ready for the upcoming semester.
“It would not be possible to have a new dean prior to the start of a semester,” he said. “That process takes several months.”
Wilkin said there are many steps to naming a new dean.
The process starts with the creation of a search committee that will then advertise the position nationally and wait for applicants as well as search for potential applicants.
“Once that pool is sufficient they’ll begin reviewing the applicant pool to determine who the most qualified applicants are,” Wilkin said.
Wilkin said after the applicants are narrowed down they will be invited to campus for a tour and will go through an academic interview. He said it is hard to say how long this process will take and it is not unusual for a search like this to take six to seven months.
“I would expect that person would probably be in before the next academic year,” Wilkin said. “Hopefully they would be named prior to that time.”
Interim Dean Forgette said he is eager and humbled to be given this opportunity and promises he will do his best at this position until they find a new replacement for such an important program at the university.
“I like to think of it as the trunk and the roots of the university,” Forgette said. “My first job is to make sure that the college continues to be a success.”
Forgette said he has prepared for the departure of former Dean Glenn Hopkins and has been ready to take on the role as interim dean.
“Dean Hopkins’ retirement was a surprise to many people, but I knew about it in advance,” Forgette said. “We’ve been planning toward this for a while.”
University Director of Public Relations Danny Blanton said finding a replacement dean is going to be the main priority for the university for the upcoming months.
“The focus right now is going to be on making sure that we find the right person,” Blanton said.
Wilkin said they are ready to begin the search for a new dean and are thankful for the commitment Forgette made.
“We’re excited that Dr. Forgette has agreed to serve in interim dean capacity and we look forward to the college continuing its progress over the course of the year,” Wilkin said. “And we look forward to getting a permanent Dean named for the college as soon as we possibly can.”