Berkeley Div. searches for dean

Nearly a year after Berkeley Divinity School Dean William Franklin resigned amid accusations of misappropriating funds, Yale President Richard Levin said the search for a new dean is under way and will likely be completed by the spring.

Franklin resigned in December after the Hartford Courant reported the contents of a Yale-initiated confidential audit showing that Franklin had used some of the school’s funds to pay for his daughter’s Harvard Medical School education and other personal expenses. The Berkeley Divinity School signed a reaffiliation agreement with the Yale Divinity School in March.

Since Franklin’s resignation, Rev. Frederick Borsch has held the position of interim dean. Borsch is a trustee at Princeton University and a retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Levin, Borsch and Yale Divinity School Dean Harold Attridge said they expected the selection process to be over by the end of the academic year.

“We would be hoping for no later than the beginning of April, probably earlier,” Borsch said.

A special selection committee produced a job description that they publicized in national publications. The deadline for applications is Nov. 15. After an initial winnowing, about a half-dozen candidates will be interviewed at the Yale Club in New York City. Two or three will be invited to campus.

The new dean appointed by Berkeley’s Board of Trustees will be subject to the approval of Attridge.

Although the names of candidates are confidential, Attridge did describe the qualities the committee was looking for.

“We want someone who’s had administrative experience,” Attridge said. “Someone with pastoral sense who can guide and shepherd the divinity school.”

Anne Turner DIV ’03, the student member of the selection committee, praised Borsche for keeping the school community together during a difficult year.

“Now it is time to look for someone who can move the community forward,” Turner said.

Borsch said he was not in contention for the position.

“I feel my best role here is as interim dean,” Borsch said.

Though not closely involved in the selection, Borsch said he was optimistic about the process.

“As far as I know, things are going very well,” Borsch said. “Dean Attridge has been a big help.”

Turner said she was surprised with the tone of the process.

“There’s a lot of excitement, which is pretty impressive considering everything the school has gone through in the last year,” Turner said.

Attridge said it was important for Berkeley to be up front about its checkered past when doing interviews.

The March reaffiliation agreement between Berkeley and the Yale Divinity School explicitly stated that all financial transactions must go through Yale systems.

“As far as accounting problems, we’ve got those completely under control as I understand it,” Levin said. “We really put the Berkeley funds under the control of Yale administration.”

Borsch said he approved of the change.

“I think [Berkeley’s relationship to Yale] has been clarified and is a stronger one.” Borsch said.

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