CORRECTION: A version of this story that was posted online and published in the print version incorrectly stated that a candidate who is also a finalist at another college will be visiting Bowdoin soon. While the candidate will soon be visiting the other college, no candidate visits to Bowdoin have been scheduled. A corrected version of the story appears below. The Orient regrets the error.
Approximately 60 people have applied to be the College's next dean of student affairs, but officials are not yet ready to predict when the search committee will make its final decision.
"The end of the search is when we've found the right person," Assistant to the President Scott Meiklejohn said in a phone interview.
The committee has already met with one applicant. Tim Foster, the College's current senior associate dean of student affairs, applied for the position and spent a full day interviewing on Tuesday, Meiklejohn said.
The Phoenix, Swarthmore College's student newspaper, reported Thursday that Foster is also one of five finalists for the dean of students position at the Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, liberal arts college. The Phoenix said that Swarthmore President Al Bloom will likely make a decision by the end of April.
"It is typical for Bowdoin to be working with top candidates who have other choices, and we ask all candidates to let us know if they are involved in other searches where there might be timing issues," Meiklejohn wrote in a follow-up email.
"In our case we think we have the important information in front of us and we are moving as quickly as possible to run a thorough process and not lose our chance at any one candidate," he wrote.
Meiklejohn noted that at least one other candidate is a finalist for a position at another top school. In addition, some candidates have spoken with officials by phone, and applications are still arriving.
Meiklejohn said the position's search committee is not intending on setting a new direction for the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
"There are a lot of things that are going well," he said. "Craig Bradley has put together a great team."
"It's inevitable that a new team will have some new ideas, but we didn't go into this looking for an extreme makeover in student affairs," Meiklejohn said.
Bradley, the current dean of student affairs, decided last month that he would leave the College to work at the Aga Khan Development Network, an organization that aims to provide top-quality educational experiences to some of the poorest children in the world.
Bradley joined Bowdoin in the summer of 1996.
Meiklejohn said that a group of about a dozen students, led by Tanisha Wilson '07 and Mike Igoe '07, met with Foster as part of Tuesday's interview sessions. Wilson and Igoe are the two student representatives on the search committee.
For its dean search, Swarthmore is conducting a series of open "fireside chats" and established an email address for student comments. While it is unlikely that Bowdoin will present candidates to the students in an open forum, Meiklejohn predicted that other applicants would also meet with selected students in small-group sessions similar to Tuesday's meeting.
"I think that's the format we would follow for any other candidates," he said.
Though the College had to work "really quickly" once Bradley announced his departure, Meiklejohn said that "we had a great response."
"We have a number of candidates that are deans at other places?colleges that you've heard of," he said.
The search committee is chaired by President Barry Mills. In addition to student representatives Igoe and Wilson, the committee also includes Associate Professor of History Sarah McMahon, Professor of Physics Steve Naculich, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Krista Van Vleet, Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis, Director of Capital Giving Elizabeth Orlic, Associate Director of Alumni Relations Peter Wagner, and Archives Assistant Kathy Peterson. Bradley is not involved in the search.
The dean reports directly to the president, and oversees many areas of student life, including the Office of Residential Life and the student disciplinary system.
According to the College's vacancy announcement, "Candidates should bring a significant record of leadership in student life, along with a strong appreciation for the educational values of a small residential college. A proven track record of educating students about, and sustaining diversity in, a residential community is essential. An advanced degree is required. Candidates with the highest ethical standards and a collegial temperament will be well-suited to the position."