Formation of the Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of the BU School of Public Health

December 20th, 2013

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

In November, Dr. Robert Meenan, Dean of the School of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy Management, announced that he plans to step down as Dean, but will continue to serve in that capacity until a successor is named.  Dean Meenan has served on the Boston University faculty since 1977 and has led the School of Public Health since 1992.  At the conclusion of his service as Dean, he will join the Office of the President in the role of Special Assistant.

We plan a national search for the next Dean of the BU School of Public Health (BUSPH).  Such transitions in leadership provide important opportunities for us to reflect as a community on the experiences and attributes desired of the individuals charged with providing vision and direction for our academic units.

The process for constituting a Dean Search Advisory Committee, outlined in the BU Faculty Handbook, specifies that: “the advisory committee shall consist of three faculty members elected by the faculty of the School for which a dean is to be selected, two faculty members elected by the Faculty Council from other Schools, and as many as three members designated by the provost.”

The selection of a new dean is among the most important decisions we make as we continue to develop, enhance, and promote excellence at Boston University.  The faculty members who serve on the advisory committee will have responsibility for directing the search effort and should be among our most thoughtful, engaged, and committed scholars, teachers, and leaders.  Potential committee members should demonstrate the capability to proactively attract and recruit outstanding candidates for the BUSPH deanship; the faculty most well positioned to carry out this work will maintain significant research and professional profiles within their disciplines. Note that no member of the Search Advisory Committee may be considered for the Dean position.

Accordingly, we are requesting that faculty in the BU School of Public Health organize internally to solicit nominations and to elect three faculty representatives to the Search Advisory Committee.  The Faculty Council will also be sending an email communication to all members of the faculty requesting nominations of candidates from the broad population of faculty on both campuses (external to BUSPH) so that they can elect two members to serve on the Committee.  Nominations or expressions of interest can be sent to the Faculty Council (  Please note that membership on the Faculty Council itself is not an eligibility requirement for election to the Search Advisory Committee.  We request submission of the results of both of these elections by January 31, 2014.  Following receipt, we will appoint additional members and identify an individual to serve as Chair, so that the committee will be assembled and prepared to begin its work by mid-February.

Administrative support to facilitate the work of the Search Advisory Committee will be provided by the Office of the University Provost.

The BUSPH Dean Search Advisory Committee is advisory to President Brown and to us and is charged with:

  • Refining the initial position description;
  • Actively soliciting nominations for candidates from appropriate sources within the University and nationally;
  • Actively recruiting outstanding candidates who have a record of administrative leadership and achievement and an academic profile suitable for appointment at the level of Professor at Boston University;
  • Evaluating the qualifications and assessing the strength of nominees and applicants;
  • Consulting with the faculty of BUSPH and other School and University stakeholders on finalists;
  • Presenting to us the names of 3-5 qualified candidates, outlining the strengths and limitations of each, for final selection by the President and approval by the Board of Trustees.

The members of the BUSPH Dean Search Advisory Committee should not vote as part of its process and deliberations. Rather, the work should be accomplished by discussion and consensus.  We request that the committee conclude its work and submit its recommendations to us by June 15, 2014.

The School of Public Health is among the University’s nationally recognized programs for its achievements in research, its successful preparation of public health leaders, and its contributions to improving the health of local, national and international populations. The next Dean of BUSPH will be charged with further enhancing the quality and reputation of one of the most preeminent schools of public health in the nation.  We urge faculty members to contribute their expertise and assistance to the formation of this group and to the fulfillment of its crucial charge.

Formation of the Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of the BU School of Public Health – 12.20.13

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