The independent news organization of Duke University

Duke adds two students to Trask replacement search committee two weeks after having none

<p>Outgoing Executive Vice President Tallman Trask in his office.</p>

Outgoing Executive Vice President Tallman Trask in his office.

Two students have been added to the search committee tasked with finding Executive Vice President Tallman Trask’s successor. 

President Vincent Price added one undergraduate student and one graduate student to the group, less than two weeks after The Chronicle highlighted the lack of students on the committee. Senior Michael Tan and Edgar Virguez, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the  Environmental Sciences and Policy division of the Nicholas School of the Environment, are the two newcomers. 

“Both have served as student members of the [Board of Trustees] Resources Committee and will add an important student perspective to the search,” wrote Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, in an email to The Chronicle.

When asked, he did not specify why the addition took place. Tan and Virguez declined to comment for this story.

The search committee—first announced Nov. 6—featured a number of deans, administrators and distinguished professors, but no students were part of the initial 10-person group. This was a departure from the typical composition of search committees in years prior.

The hiring of the new vice president for institutional equity in June and vice provost/vice president for student affairs in April both used committees that included students. Two major searches in the years prior that led to the hiring of a new university president and a new vice president for Durham affairs also boasted student representation.

Search committees are tasked with working alongside search firms to identify and interview potential candidates in a complex, multi-step administrative search process

In October, the University announced that Trask would step down in 2020 from the EVP position in which he has served since 1995. Price hopes that the search is concluded and a replacement is named by the end of the academic year, Schoenfeld noted.

“As we do with other senior level searches, it will be a national—or international—search for the next executive vice president,” Schoenfeld told The Chronicle earlier in November.