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December 23, 2010

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Brian Tamanaha

It is unfair to Mark to conclude that his appointment is "the wrong choice for DePaul." Although the faculty clearly preferred another candidate, a majority voted that Mark was "acceptable." If they didn't want him, they should have voted him down. In fact they gave him their approval.

There is nothing "wrong" about this. Your comments have made an already difficult situation even more difficult for Mark.

Dan Filler

Brian - I guess I didn't express myself clearly. I didn't mean to take a position on whether Mark was the wrong choice for DePaul. I meant only to say that this was the thesis of Paul Caron's post. My view is that the DePaul administration has limited capital when it comes to dealing with faculty, given the prior history around the deanship, and that given that history, the Provost might have been better served by being more deferential That said, Mark may be a perfect institutional fit. And as I noted, the faculty vote rendered Mark's hire entirely legitimate.

Jacqueline Lipton

I'm actually a little confused about what the ABA rules mean anyway. I don't have them in front of me right now, but don't they contemplate that a dean won't be appointed without sufficient consultation with faculty, or against the wishes of the faculty? Would this case meet those requirements? I understand that where the faculty demonstrates a clear preference for a candidate, there may be bad feelings if another candidate is chosen by the president/provost. But is this the same as not complying with the ABA rules? I don't think Dan or Paul are suggesting that this action contravened ABA rules, but I'm always curious as to where the line should be drawn in the many cases where a faculty demonstrates a clear preference for one candidate and the central university goes in a different direction.

And on a related point, I'd be interested in how many schools allow faculties to actually vote in the context of a dean search. I've heard arguments both ways. As the ABA rules only require faculty consultation/input, a vote can't be binding and can only be informational. So is a vote the best way of getting relevant information to the president/provost or should the faculty input be presented in a more qualitative format? What do other schools do in this context?

Anon

Unfortunately it seems that the DePaul Faculty were provided with no alternative than to vote Mark acceptable. The University Administration told the Committee and the Faculty that returning only one candidate as "acceptable" would result in a failed search. The Administration assured the Faculty that their preferred candidate would be appointed. By reports the Faculty took the Faculty at their word and it slighted them again. I predict a mass exodus from DePaul over the next 2 years - let the shopping begin.

Brian Tamanaha

Sorry, Dan. I misread your post. I erroneously read you to be agreeing with Paul. My comments apply to his position, not yours, as you note.

The DePaul law faculty is obviously going through a difficult period in its relations with the University. But as far as I can tell Mark (who I do not know) is entirely innocent in this affair and does not deserve the extra burden created by a public blog airing of the circumstances of his appointment. That is why I objected. I should have stayed silent, as I know nothing about any of this, but I fear that bloggers (like myself) are sometimes quick to go public in ways that might undeservedly harm others.

Mary Dudziak

To Anon: It strikes me as just not the case that "the DePaul Faculty were provided with no alternative than to vote Mark acceptable." It's pretty standard practice, as I understand it, that university presidents require a list of candidates, rather than just one name. And at some universities (i.e. mine), the faculty is not supposed to rank the list. A list of two is a pretty short list, and I think three (or more) is more common. By allowing the law faculty to limit the list to two, DePaul was actually giving the faculty more input than many schools do. And the faculty had an opportunity to put other candidates on that short list. They picked Greg Mark.

DePaul has a terrible track record, as detailed on the law blogs over recent years. Anyone stepping into this deanship would have a terribly difficult job ahead of them. I don't know Greg Mark well, but he is an accomplished and well respected legal historian. The school will be fortunate to have him.

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