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University in search of replacements for interim positions

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University in search of replacements for interim positions

John Wilkin was the interim provost and vice channeler for academic affairs.  He is now the dean of the University Library where he poses for this portrait.

John Wilkin was the interim provost and vice channeler for academic affairs. He is now the dean of the University Library where he poses for this portrait.

Constance Sarantos

John Wilkin was the interim provost and vice channeler for academic affairs. He is now the dean of the University Library where he poses for this portrait.

Constance Sarantos

Constance Sarantos

John Wilkin was the interim provost and vice channeler for academic affairs. He is now the dean of the University Library where he poses for this portrait.

By Jiejie Wang, Staff Writer

One-fifth of the dean positions and a quarter of the vice chancellorships at the University are currently held by interims, according to University Spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

“The university is almost always hiring,” Kaler said in an email.

According to the Illinois Human Resources website, the University is currently hiring for 185 positions.

Andreas Cangellaris, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University, said in an email that an interim position is held by someone serving between two permanent candidates. If a dean resigns or returns to the faculty, an interim dean occupies the position before a permanent dean can be named.

“The interim position has no limit, but we like to fill the permanent positions as soon as we can,” Cangellaris said. “I usually reach out to the faculty and ask for nominations and I also speak with the college’s executive committee about nominations.”

Cangellaris said it is not normally encouraged for someone in an interim role to apply for the permanent position.

“An interim position does not require a full search. When we fill a position permanently, we need to ensure we have allowed full consideration of all interested, qualified candidates,” Cangellaris said.

Cangellaris said he is responsible for filling all the positions that report to him, which includes deans. Each dean is then responsible for all the positions that report to them, such as department heads.

“To fill our high-level administrative interim positions in academic units, we look for tenured faculty members with experience in other administrative roles,” Cangellaris said.

Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, Dean of the Graduate College and interim Dean of Media, has been in the interim position for 20 months.

“Right now we have a whole bunch of dean searches going on,” Chodzko-Zajko said. “It’s not a bad idea sometimes to have an interim dean in that position, but normally it should be faculty from the same background.”

Chodzko-Zajko said that as interim dean, he works to support the departments in delivering their academic programs

“I don’t think an interim would never be considered,” Chodzko-Zajko said. “But in my case, I absolutely would never apply to be the dean of the College of Media because I already have a big job—the dean of the Graduate College. I don’t see myself having the expertise to lead that college long term.”

Nancy Benson, interim head of the Journalism department, is in her second year in the interim position.

“A permanent department head will be named by the end of the semester, a position I did not apply for because I am not interested in the permanent position,” Benson said in an email.

John Wilkin, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, was interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for academic affairs from last February to January this year.

Deans are first appointed for a five-year term, but their terms may be renewed. Wilkin said interim positions may become permanent, but it generally depends on the result of the search.

Wilkin said that in some cases, people who are in interim positions may declare they do not intend to be in the permanent positions.

“I was in my dean position for four years when I stepped into the interim Provost role,” Wilkin said. “When I accepted the responsibility for the interim Provost role, I made it clear that I intended to go back to the library.”

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