Search for college of media dean suspended indefinitely

The search for a permanent college of media dean has been suspended indefinitely, said Richard Wheeler, vice provost and interim vice chancellor for academic affairs. An e-mail was sent out to members of the college on Feb. 15 announcing the end of the search.

He said it has been called off due to the continuation of a conversation among administrators that has been in place for a long time.

“The possibility of closing the search has been in the conversation from the beginning,” Wheeler said.

He added that the candidates for the position have been aware of the search’s unstable status from the start.

“This was a case of arriving at a decision,” Wheeler said.

He added that it is unlikely for the search to be reactivated this semester.

“We will have to do a major reassessment of many things when we arrive at the fall semester and the situation with the dean will be one of them,” Wheeler said.

He added that Interim Dean Walter Harrington’s term will terminate at the end of this semester, and the future leadership of the college is still undecided. Harrington will continue to lead the college for the near future. Wheeler said he believes most people in the college would have preferred they hired a dean, so there will be some distress about future decisions.

“I think the programs in the college have a very bright future and we’ll come out of this just fine,” he said.

Wheeler added that the suspension of the search is tied to the hiring freeze in place and the financial problems of the University. An ad hoc committee system for reviewing campus enterprises has been created, and a description of those plans can be found at http://oc.illinois.edu/budget.