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Search under way for multi-cultural affairs VP

By Matthew Winston

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 27 - April 9, 1998

The Search Committee appointed by President Paul Torgersen to help choose the university's first vice president for multi-cultural affairs has completed the initial stages of the search process, including development of a position description and advertisement, and several screenings of applicants.
The committee has the task of reviewing an unusually large number of applications--over 200--for the newly created position and hopes to make a recommendation to Torgersen by early May.
"We are extremely pleased with the response we have received from people from across the country, and in fact, from around the world, who have applied for this position," said Bob Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Search Committee. "Our committee has been a bit overwhelmed with both the sheer volume of applications we have received, as well as the quality of the applicants in the pool. This response shows there is a great deal of interest in Virginia Tech and the opportunity and challenge a position like this offers."
Bates says the committee is working to bring candidates to campus for interviews before the end of the spring semester, and to make a recommendation to Torgersen shortly thereafter, with a goal of having the new vice president assume the position by the start of the fall 1998 academic term.
Bates said the Search Committee's strong commitment is to meet the April timeline if at all possible. "The committee is working diligently but very carefully to screen all candidates and to bring to campus the strongest-possible group of candidates," Bates said. However, this ambitious timeline depends on candidates' availability to visit campus in mid-to-late April when students and faculty members are present in significant numbers.
Carole Nickerson, executive assistant to the president said, "It is very important to provide our community with opportunities to visit with and to hear personally from these candidates during the academic session. This means that our committee has been working intensely during these last several months, but if that effort allows us to meet the April campus-visit timeline, it will have been well worth the effort."
The Search Committee first met January 14, and has been meeting regularly ever since. Recently, committee members have been reviewing the more-than-200 applications that have already been turned in.
"We have conducted this search thus far with a great deal of efficiency," Nickerson said. "Reviewing this number of applications for a position of this level is really a daunting task. But the committee members have been generous with their time and resources in an effort to meet the strict deadlines they gave themselves."
"We have a talented and promising applicant pool of people who have significant experience in multi-cultural affairs," Bates said. "The committee is quite enthusiastic about meeting some of these candidates."
Torgersen announced the creation of this position in November at a campus-climate address to the university community following a number of racially motivated incidents at Virginia Tech.
He said in that address, "I see this vice president as providing support and leadership for the challenging work of building the community I know we all want. And I have come to believe that it will require a position with this level of visibility, along with direct access to the president and other lead administrators, to effectively make the kind of changes I want to see on our campus."
Members of the search committee are Robert Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chair of the committee; Barbara Carlisle, associate professor of theatre arts and director of women's studies; Victoria Fu, professor of family and child development, CHRE; Elyzabeth Holford, associate professor of education and director of EOAA; Golde Holtzman, associate professor of statistics; Chaka Keiller, undergraduate student; Paul Metz, professor and head of collections development, Newman Library, and immediate past president of the Faculty Senate; Danilo Obusan, undergraduate student and president, Filipino American Student Association; Barbara Pendergrass, associate dean of students; Jessica Ranero, graduate assistant in Student Affairs; Minnis Ridenour, executive vice president; Will Simpkins, undergraduate student and program director of LGBA; Bevlee Watford, associate professor of ISE and associate dean of Engineering; Matthew Winston, public-relations specialist, Office of University Relations.