As second search by the University of Wyoming to hire a new dean of College of Health Sciences has failed. Former dean Joe Steiner retired more than a year ago after accepting voluntary separation incentives.

Since then, the college has been helmed on an interim basis by professor David Jones.

The university originally announced in April 2017 it would conduct a nationwide search to replace Steiner, who took over the position in 2009.

In April, two finalists for the position visited campus and gave public presentations.

Those candidates included Stanley Brown, head of the Department of Kinesiology at Mississippi State University, and Russell Mumper, vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Georgia.

Board of Trustees member Michelle Sullivan said at September’s board meeting the search committee selected a finalist before determining it “wasn’t a good fit.”

A second search then began this fall, but Sullivan said last week the college is “back at square one” after the most recent candidates withdrew.

“This is beginning to be a quarterly report, unfortunately,” she said.

Sullivan said the college’s “unusual structure has caused us some difficulty” in finding interested candidates.

The dean of the college oversees two other deans: One for pharmacy and one for nursing.

That structure, Sullivan said, is unappealing for candidates “at a time when deans of health sciences are quite in demand.”

Sullivan said would she would propose a “personnel recommendation with a potential solution to that” in last week’s executive session.

Under Wyoming statute, the Board of Trustees is only allowed to consider personnel issues behind closed doors when discussing an individual’s terms of employment or when weighing “the appointment, employment, right to practice or dismissal of a public officer, professional person or employee, or to hear complaints or charges brought against an employee, professional person or officer, unless the employee, professional person or officer requests a public hearing.”

An earlier version of this story stated the first search ended after the search committee selected a finalist before determining it “wasn’t a good fit.”  If fact, it was upper level management, not the search committee, that decided not to hire the finalist during contract negotiations. The Laramie Boomerang regrets the error.

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