While prospective students swarm the 5Cs this week in search of the perfect school, Pomona’s Office of Admissions is conducting a search of its own. The hunt for a new Dean of Admissions began last semester, and college administrators hope to fill the position by the beginning of the next school year.
“We’re really in a time crunch,” President David Oxtoby said. “The admissions people are very busy with visitors and recruitment right now, so we’re doing the quiet parts of the process. The public phase will take place after May 1. By that point, people at other campuses who we are looking at for the job will have admitted their own students.”
The search is being conducted by a hired consultant and a search committee, which includes students nominated by the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC), as well as faculty and staff. The committee will select three to four finalists, who will each give a presentation to the campus community between May 1 and May 12. The finalists have not yet been chosen from what Oxtoby described as “a strong applicant pool.”
“We’re working with a search firm that specializes in admissions at private colleges and universities—places like us—so it’s their specialty,” Oxtoby said. “The search firm contacts people who would maybe fit with our school and encourages them to apply.”
The search began in earnest in December after Pomona's longtime Dean of Admissions Bruce Poch, who held the position for 23 years, resigned.
“We certainly weren’t prepared at that stage for the position to open, so we scrambled to get a search together,” Oxtoby said. “We were going to try to get someone in place by the summer.”
However, this year the Office of Admissions has been busy with the largest number of applicants in the school’s history.
“There were 7,200 [applications] this year, and the admission rate was under 14 percent, which is the lowest ever,” Oxtoby said. “So it’s been a big job for [Acting Dean of Admissions] Art [Rodriguez], dealing with the numbers and so forth.”
Rodriguez, formerly the Senior Associate Dean of Admissions, is one of the applicants for the Dean of Admissions position.
“I think the transition to the Interim Dean of Admissions role has gone quite well,” Rodriguez said, in an e-mail to TSL. “No longer am I solely managing the day-to-day programs of the Office of Admissions. The dean role requires much more work overseeing college policy and thinking strategically about the direction of admissions at the college.”
The new position will be slightly different, however, because it will include oversight of the Office of Financial Aid. In the past, Financial Aid has reported to the Vice President for Planning. Next year, it will begin reporting to the Office of Admissions. The title will change to Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid to reflect the new responsibility.
“The structural change won’t be too apparent to students once they are here, but [it] will benefit applicants,” Oxtoby said. “The two offices need to talk to each other all the time, and our offices have always worked well together, but now we are coordinating them even closer under this new position.”
To fill this demanding post, Oxtoby stated the college is looking for candidates with a wide range of skills.
“We’re looking for people who are good leaders of organizations, who are able to work with staff effectively, strengthen teamwork, and as admissions is increasingly technological these days, we are looking for someone who can move our system more into the 21st century,” Oxtoby said.