USU students consider applicants for new department head

The political science department held external tryouts for someone to fill the position of department head after Bobbi Herzberg concludes her five-year term. “It is a difficult job to be department head and I am sure Dr. Herzberg is eager to get back to other things, such as research,” said assistant department head of political science Michael Lyons. “Ultimately, the decision of who becomes the new department head is with the provost and the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. They decided it was a good idea for the department to bring in a department head from another university.” Lyons said they first establish a committee to facilitate the hiring processes. Together, the committee writes a basic job description and publishes the job application in prominent material like The Chronicle of Higher Education. After a certain amount of time, they close the application and the committee screens all applicants, reviews the written material and narrows it down to three candidates. The candidates are then invited to visit USU’s campus for two days in which they will give two presentations. One presentation is for an undergraduate class while the other is a research presentation given to faculty, staff and graduate students. Associate Dean of HASS and professor of philosophy Charlie Huenemann, said, “The job of the committee is to manage the whole search process, call references, escort the candidate and be available to talk to the candidate.” All of the candidates are current political science educators. One is a professor at Baylor University, another is an associate professor at the University of Georgia and the last is the senior associate dean at Florida International University. “These are three great scholars and great teachers,” Huenemann said. “We want scholars and teachers so we want to make sure they are good in the classroom, meaning they are able to connect with the students and communicate.” Lyons also emphasized the importance of students’ reactions to the presentations. Lyons said, “We ask the students opinions. That is why we do classroom presentations; we gauge student’s reaction because their impression is important to us.”

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