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When former Brown University President E. Gordon Gee announced his resignation just over a year ago, it took that school just nine months to complete a nationwide search process and name a successor. Apparently, Brown's administrators know something that those at Penn do not. That seems to be to only explanation for why this University is habitually slow in naming new top-level administrators -- with some searches lasting as long as 14 or 15 months. Now, Penn once again finds itself lagging desperately in the effort to name an administrator, as the search for a new Nursing School dean enters its eighth month. Despite a relatively small pool of qualified candidates, the committee charged with naming a dean has yet to even identify a short list of candidates to replace former Dean Norma Lang. And that pace, quite simply, is unacceptable if the Nursing School is to soon find the direction and vision that come along with permanent leadership. Without question, the process involved with identifying suitable academic leaders is long and complicated. A hastily selected dean, after all, could wind up compromising the success and prestige of the Nursing School. But despite the sizeable demands of a full search, there is no reason the process should be so lengthy -- especially when other universities manage to fill equally prestigious positions in much less time. Sadly, this is not the first time that such a search has dragged on for too long. With only one other position -- that of the Medical School dean -- currently vacant, now is the time for the University to revise the policies that drive its administrative search processes and make appropriate changes. To do so would result in quicker, more efficient transitions of leadership. And that serves the long-term benefit of students, faculty and administrators themselves.

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