February 23, 2011

Cornell Relaunches Search for New Admissions Dean

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After failing to find a suitable candidate, the University is about to relaunch the search for its first associate vice provost and dean for admissions and Financial Aid.

Administrators are optimistic this year’s search will be successful since the University is now employing the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, according to Barbara Knuth, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. Last semester, the search was done entirely by a University search committee.

The search will appoint the successor for Doris Davis, former associate provost for admissions and enrollment, who left her post last spring to start a college consulting business.

During Davis’s tenure, Cor­nell’s acceptance rate fell significantly every year and the freshmen classes became increasingly diverse. In 1999 — the year before Davis arrived — the admissions rate for first-year students was 32.9 percent. Last year, for the Class of 2014, the acceptance rate dropped to an all-time low of 18.4 percent.

Knuth said the search will continue “until we identify an excellent candidate who will be able to provide the leadership we seek on enrollment processes and goals.”

“Witt/Kieffer’s role is to help us make contacts with qualified individuals and actively recruit appropriate people to be considered for this important position,” Knuth said.

She added, “The [University] is seeking an experienced enrollment professional for the position.” “The successful candidate will lead strategic initiatives and regularly assess recruitment, admissions, and financial aid policy and practices and will develop new directions and goals to anticipate and address potential market changes.”

According to Knuth, the University is in “the final stages of preparing the profile describing the position.” As soon as the profile is completed, Knuth said it will be posted on the Provost’s website, under “open searches,” and will be advertised in the the Chronicle of Higher Education on Feb. 25.

Last September, Knuth told The Sun that Davis’ previous position was re-framed “to signal the importance of Cornell’s institutional commitment to providing financial aid [and ensuring it] remains accessible for all qualified students.”

Until a new Associate Provost is named, Jason Locke, Director of the Undergraduate Admissions Office, will continue to be directly in charge of University undergraduate admissions.

Original Author: Patricio Martinez