Thursday, January 16, 2014

UF Dean Candidates

As reported by our friend Dan Filler of the Faculty Lounge the University of Florida has disclosed a list of candidates for the deanship there:

I am not sure that disclosure at this stage of a search is helpful, and it might make the job of the search committee that much more difficult.  I fully respect the Florida Open Meeting law, and its intended purposes, and think that the committee should be required to be open about its processes, and criteria for candidate review. Most importantly, the process for selecting the members of the search committee must be transparent and inclusive.

On the other hand, publicizing the names of the candidates, when a large majority of them will not be invited to campus for on-campus interviews, can do more harm than good. Strong candidates might decide to withdraw, if they were not expecting their applications to be public at this point.

Furthermore, the committee might be subjected to undue external pressure in favor of, or against a particular person.  This might be detrimental to the work of a committee tasked with holistic review of every candidate. The committee should be free to decide which candidates best fit the law school's goals as defined by the law school community and the university. The finalists chosen as a result of that process will, of course, be vetted in the open.

It will be interesting to see the impact, if any, of publishing the names of applicants at this stage in the UF search.

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