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UR searches for pair of key leaders

Rochester Business Journal
December 6, 2013

The University of Rochester had gone six years without a dean transition, President Joel Seligman points out.
Now the university is facing two with the planned departure of Dean Mark Zupan from the Simon School of Business and the death in October of Dean Douglas Lowry of the Eastman School of Music.
Seligman said the situation is not ideal but represents an opportunity for the schools to solidify their directions and continue on the paths of growth set by Zupan and Lowry.
"In both the Simon School and the Eastman School we had strong schools with world-class deans," Seligman said. "The processes we're now going into to find new leaders are somewhat the same and somewhat different."
Since Zupan's announcement in September that he will step down as dean at the end of the school year, UR has moved forward deliberately with the search for a new dean.
Zupan is to serve as dean until June 30, then take a one-year sabbatical. When he returns he is to become the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics and public policy and director of the Bradley Policy Research Center at Simon.
The next dean will step into a school that has been continually growing. In announcing his retirement as dean, Zupan noted that the Simon School has a record enrollment and raised more than $62 million for the university's $1.2 billion Meliora Campaign.
The school also has made a push into New York City, establishing a master's program with a concentration in finance in Manhattan. The school and university also have plans to increase their stature downstate and eventually establish a permanent presence in New York City.
Seligman said the dean search is a priority and he has appointed himself head of the search committee so he can oversee it. The university has retained Boston-based executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to help with the process, which already has published a listing for the position that touched on the school's plans for growth.
"This is a critical time of transition for Simon, which built its reputation as one of the top business schools in the world through an empirical, economics-based approach that attracts world-class faculty who conduct groundbreaking research," the listing states. "This deanship offers an opportunity to develop an ambitious and innovative strategy for a school seeking to re-establish its place among the nation's most successful business schools."
Seligman said the search committee plans to meet in early 2014 to review the process of seeking candidates. The committee will meet again in February to narrow the candidates to a list of eight to 12.
After the committee interviews this smaller group, it will select three or four finalists who will be interviewed two to four weeks later, Seligman said. A selection will be made shortly after that.
"My aspiration is clear: I want to have the new dean selected and in place by July 1, and that's what we're moving toward," he said.
Seligman said the committee is not being restrictive in candidates it selects.
"We want the best possible dean, and he or she can be an insider at Simon or an outsider," he said. "It could also be someone from a business school or someone from government or the business world."
Meanwhile, the search for the next Eastman School dean is playing out with sensitivity, given Lowry's sudden death in October. The school has selected Jamal Rossi, the former executive associate dean, to serve as interim dean while the search occurs.
Seligman has asked UR provost Peter Lennie to lead that search, a process Seligman said will play out the same way as Simon's search in many respects. The search committee still is developing job specifications, which are expected to be ready for circulation within the month.
The search for the next Eastman School dean likely will encompass a wide area, Seligman noted.
"In music, the search is not just going to be in the United States but international as well," he said. "There are some great conservatories and music schools around the globe, and at the same time Eastman is a truly strong school ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report."
In both dean searches, the direction of the schools will be a priority, Seligman said. The respective search committees will look carefully at candidates' ideas for expansion of the schools, including possible growth overseas.
"With both dean searches, it comes down to coming up with the best strategy," Seligman said. "You can't do everything, and the question is how much we want to focus on more formalized programs abroad and what we want to be doing on campus. That is a question of strategic vision that the next deans in part have to address."

12/6/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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