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University President Judith Rodin and Provost Robert Barchi recently appointed a committee to head up a search for a new dean for the School of Dental Medicine.

Led by School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Alan Kelly, the committee will be searching for candidates to replace current Dental School Dean Raymond Fonseca, whose term will be up at the end of the 2002-2003 academic year.

In addition to conducting a search within the University community for potential candidates, the twelve-person committee has also hired Isaacson Miller -- a Washington D.C. based executive search firm -- to look externally for people to fill the position.

Isaacson Miller has previously worked with the University to fill other vacancies over the past several years, including the appointment of Fonseca in 1989.

"They have done a search for the dean of the Dental School previously, so they're well posiitioned," Kelly said.

According to Kelly, the new dean will have to exhibit strong academic and leadership skills in order to continue on with the various intitiatives that Fonseca implemented throughout his fourteen-year term.

"It's got to be someone who is capable of leading the academic programs at the school, developing programs in clinical research and also leading the basic science programs," Kelly said.

Moreover, the new dean's responsibilities will extend to the further development of the Penn Dental Network.

Launched by Fonseca in 1996, the Penn Dental Network is a series of dental clinics in the general Philadelphia area.

"The new dean is clearly going to have to lead this initiative," Kelly said. "It has further areas to be developed."

Fonseca's successor will have to be in charge of several fundraising efforts in order to help the program expand and progress over the next several years.

"The fiscal responsibility for [the Penn Dental Network] is terribly important for the new dean to be able to lead and increase the further success it's presently having," Kelly added.

In spite of the numerous responsibilities that the new dean will have to take on, Kelly said he expected that there would be a significant amount of interest in the position -- largely due to the enormous strides that Fonseca has helped the Dental School take during his tenure.

In addition to establishing the Penn Dental Network, Fonseca has overseen the planning and construction of the $22 million Robert Schattner Dental School Building, which is located on the corner of 40th and Locust streets.

Although its completion date has yet to be announced, Kelly said that the building's new clinical research facilities will help lure in prospective candidates.

"Fonseca has been very successful," Kelly said. "Here he is having raised the funds for a new clinical building -- that will be enormously helpful in trying to recruit a new dean."

At the end of the 2002-2003 academic year, Fonseca will step down from his position as dean to become a full professor in the Department of Oral and Maxiollofacial Surgery.

But while his term does not officially end until June of 2003, Kelly said that the committee intends to narrow down a pool of candidates for final selection soon.

"To have someone in the position by July of 2003 would require that we make the appointment by the fall," Kelly said. "The president would like to see the search completed by October."

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