CBS dean search underway

Dear CBS faculty, staff, and students,

I write to update you on the University’s search for a new dean of the College of Biological Sciences.

As you know, we are undertaking a national search following Dean Bob Elde’s decision to step down at the end of June. The 12-member search committee, chaired by Trevor Ames, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, has met to discuss the position and the search process. In June, the committee sought the perspectives of internal and external stakeholders at a series of listening sessions.

I want to express my thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts. Your input has been invaluable in shaping the position description and plans for the search.

The dean of CBS will be asked to collaborate with faculty, staff, students, and other key stakeholders to create a unified vision for the college and will be charged to provide effective strategic leadership to advance the college’s quality, reputation, stature, and aspirational goals. The dean will be responsible for the effective oversight and administration of CBS, including recruiting and retaining distinguished scholars and outstanding students; managing the allocation of fiscal, human, and capital resources; overseeing and fostering excellence in academic programs and research pursuits; building sustaining relationships with internal and external stakeholders; and leading energetic efforts to secure philanthropic support.

The dean will advocate for the college in University-level discussions and will ensure it is a full participant in the evolving strategic plan for the University’s Twin Cities campus. The dean must provide leadership both for the college and the University community, protecting strengths, nurturing emerging areas, and inspiring new ideas.

The ideal candidate will be an inclusive and decisive leader, with a distinguished academic career and a record of success in leading a highly complex organization, who brings an appreciation of the power of the biological sciences to advance the human endeavor.

For the full position profile, please visit the CBS dean search page on the college website.

To ensure a comprehensive national search, I have engaged Denise Gaffney and Stephanie Fidel from Isaacson, Miller to collaborate with the search committee and to advise me on this search. We aim to develop a rich and diverse candidate pool and ask for your assistance in bringing this opportunity to the attention of colleagues here and at universities and organizations across the country. We invite you to submit confidential nominations and applications to Dean Ames or directly to the search consultants at

We will undertake an aggressive sourcing and recruiting strategy into the early fall.Your active involvement in this recruiting period is critical to our success in building the pool of qualified candidates from which your next dean will be chosen, so please send your nominations to Dean Ames or the consultants, and encourage others to do so as well. The search committee plans to review and discuss the candidate pool, conduct confidential interviews with selected candidates, and recommend a small pool of candidates to invite to campus for public interviews in the fall.

I will continue to keep you informed as the search progresses. Please consult the CBS dean search page for the latest updates, as well as key information such as search committee membership and application and nomination procedures. If you have questions or would like to share your thoughts on the search, I invite you to e-mail Dean Ames directly. Questions about the search process also may be directed to Kate Stuckert in the Office of Human Resources.

Thank you for your interest in this important University leadership search.


Karen Hanson
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost