Gatton dean search underway

By Becca Clemons

The presidential search is not the only one needed to fill a leadership position at UK. The Gatton College of Business and Economics has an opening for a new dean after current Dean Devanathan Sudharshan announced earlier this year that he will step down.

Sudharshan will remain dean until the end of the academic year. As for the next dean, Provost Kumble R. Subbaswamy is putting together a search committee, his office said. It is not yet known whether a search firm will be used to help find the new dean.

Sudharshan became the sixth dean of the college in 2003, succeeding Richard W. Furst, who held the position for 22 years.

Last year, Subbaswamy commissioned Pappas Consulting Group, Inc. to help address organizational and governance issues within the Gatton College. Issues stated in the report included a lack of cohesiveness in the college, an ineffective shared governance model and communication problems.

In a 2009 report reviewing the dean’s progress, among his strengths mentioned were the development of the 11-month Masters in Business Administration program, his commitment to diversity and his sensitivity to the resource gap between the Gatton College and comparable schools at UK’s benchmark institutions.

However, finance professor Joe Peek said the gap between the UK business school and the University of Louisville’s business school is closing rapidly and UK needs to make more progress.

He hopes that the new dean can help the college move ahead.

“It’s sort of scary. We’re the flagship university, yet they’re the one that’s moving,” Peek said.

The 2009 report also noted communication as an area of concern.

“I think what we need is someone who can communicate,” Peek said. “That means two-way communication, and I think that’s what we’ve been lacking.”

“The faculty don’t feel like they have a lot of input,” Peek said. “The faculty here are very bright people and have lots of ideas.”

He also said a new dean needs to be creative and innovative and help form successful programs at Gatton.

In an e-mail to the Gatton College faculty Subbaswamy said the college must run normally to conduct a successful dean search. He is working on getting faculty together to form the search committee.