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Finalists selected for museum director position

Submitted by Kerynn Fisher
Phone: 907-474-6941


A university search committee has again narrowed the field in the search for a new director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The position is being vacated by Aldona Jonaitis, who announced her plans to retire last spring after 14 years at the museum. Four finalists have been selected and will visit Fairbanks this spring for on-site interviews.

Keith Crandall is the chair of the biology department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and also serves as the curator of crustaceans at BYU's Monte L.. Beam Museum. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology and mathematics from Kalamazoo College, a master's degree in statistics from Washington University and a doctorate in population and evolutionary biology, also from Washington University.

Carol Deibel is the director of natural environment at the Museum of New Zealand and previously served as the curator of marine biology collections at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in New Zealand. She holds a bachelor's degree from Humboldt State University and a doctorate in biological oceanography from the Joint Program in Oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Brendan Kelly is the program director for arctic biology at the National Science Foundation. He previously served as the vice provost for research and dean of arts and sciences at the University of Alaska Southeast and as an associate professor of marine biology, a joint appointment with UAF and UAS. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Santa Cruz, a master's degree from UAF and a doctorate from Purdue University, all in biology.

Gregory McDonald is the senior curator of natural history for the National Park Service's Museum Management Program, a position based in Fort Collins, Colo. He previously served as the paleontology program coordinator for the Geologic Resources Division of the National Park Service and as the paleontologist and chief of research for Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho. He holds a bachelor's degree in zoology from Idaho State University, a master's degree in zoology from the University of Florida Gainesville and a doctorate in geology from the University of Toronto.

"We had a large and very strong pool to select from, and the search committee is very enthusiastic about these candidates," says Michael Castellini, search committee chairman and associate dean of UAF's School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. "At this point, the candidates are interviewing us as much as we're interviewing them."

The search committee hopes to have the on-site interviews completed by the end of May and a recommendation forwarded to UAF Provost Susan Henrichs within a week of the final interview. As part of the interview process, each candidate will make an academic presentation on their research. These presentations will be open to the public and will be posted on the museum's Web site,www.uaf.edu/museum as soon as they are scheduled.

The search for a new director began in April 2008 after Jonaitis announced her plans to retire. An initial search yielded three finalists by September 2008, but two of the applicants accepted other positions before onsite interviews could be scheduled. The search was reopened in fall 2008. Jonaitis will continue to serve as the museum's director, working part-time, until the transition to the new director is complete.

CONTACT: Michael Castellini, search committee chair and associate dean of UAF's School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, at 907-474-6825 or mikec@ims.uaf.edu. Kerynn Fisher, University of Alaska Museum of the North communications coordinator, at 907-474-6941 or 907-378-2559.

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