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Office of Minority Affairs seeks experienced director

The search for a new director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) has not yet yielded any specific candidates for the position, though administrators said they hope to begin interviews in January. Special Assistant to the Dean of Students in the University Cheryl Bradley-Stone and Assistant Director of College Administration Linda Choi are temporarily coordinating the oversight of ongoing functions and are planning events for the upcoming academic year. Stone said the timetable for finding a new director is entirely in the hands of the search firm, which is expected to send a list of candidates to the search committee and Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for interviewing.

The search firm currently looking for a new director is the Hollins Group, Inc. The University has not specified a deadline for finding the new director, but Stephen Klass, vice president and dean of students, said the search is likely to take several more weeks.

The University is searching nationally for candidates to fill the position, officially titled Deputy Dean of Students in the University and director of OMSA. Kenneth Warren, professor in the department of English language and literature, is the chair of the search committee and Sonya Malunda, assistant vice president and director of Community Affairs is the vice-chair. To aid the process, a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) formed in September 2004. The student committee includes a combination of 11 undergraduates and graduates.

The search for a new director of OMSA is part of an administrative overhaul that Klass and Provost Richard Saller began in June. Over the summer, Klass and Saller remodeled OMSA, which was created in November 2002 from the Coordinating Council for Minority Issues (CCMI), and reformulated the requirements for a director to reflect OMSA’s new mission.

Discussions about minority issues at the University preceded the overhaul of OMSA. “Much of this direction came from the students, faculty, and staff who participated on the PIMI subcommittee on Student Programming and Support and the student advisory committee that reported to it,” Klass said, referring to the acronym for the Provost’s Initiative on Minority Issues.

The search also involves participation from members of the University community at large. “The search requires substantial time and resources in line with the importance we place on this position and the office itself. In addition to the members of the committee, short-listed candidates will interview with a large number of students, faculty and senior administrators,” Klass said.

He added that he expects there to be a high amount of interest in the director’s position, and that the search pool will include both internal and external candidates.

The Hollins Group, Inc., the search firm, is now collecting applications and nominations and “actively recruiting people,” said Bradley-Stone, who added that the search firm has placed an ad in the Chronicle of Higher Education and is “meeting frequently” to discuss the position.

The candidates for director of OMSA will have to meet many requirements in order to meet the changing mission of OMSA. According to the job posting, the candidate needs to have worked for three years with college students and have five years of leadership experience. The candidate must also have “working knowledge of the issues facing college and graduate students of color and a demonstrated commitment to improving institutional support for an increasingly diverse student body.”

The director’s job will include “planning, supervising staff, hiring staff, and interacting with administration, staff, and students across campus,” Bradley-Stone said.

Although OMSA does not yet have a permanent director, there are still many events on campus, such as study breaks, movie nights, lecture series, and cultural outings that demonstrate OMSA’s presence in the University.