Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Search for new College of Medicine dean at standstill

The College of Medicine is not currently searching for a new dean after the previous dean left her position last summer, according to FAU spokesperson Joshua Glanzer.
Courtesy of Schmidt College of Medicine Marketing
Exterior of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

The dean of the College of Medicine stepped down in July and there is still no timeline on when a search for a new one will begin. It’s unclear what exactly is holding up the search.

The UP reached out to representatives from the college but was referred to FAU’s general media relations department.

According to Joshua Glanzer, FAU’s spokesperson, the university is not commenting at this time. 

“The College of Medicine has not yet started a search for the permanent dean,” he wrote in a Jan. 11 email. “Any discussion now would be too speculative on their part.”

Glanzer did not respond to follow up questions sent by the UP. 

Dr. Julie Pilitsis took over as the dean in February 2022 and announced she was stepping aside in July.

“I think Dr. Pilitsis’s departure was a bit of a surprise because the school was very bold and proud in announcing her hiring and spoke a lot about what she would bring to the table for Neurology/Neurosurgery research at FAU,” wrote Ross Mellman, a third-year medical student.  

Before coming to FAU, Dr. Pilitsis, a practicing neurosurgeon, held multiple administrative positions at Albany Medical College. According to the July announcement, she was to continue at FAU in a role focusing on medical affairs and strategic initiatives. However, according to her X and LinkedIn pages, she is now the Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Curtis Whitehair took over as the interim dean on July 27, the UP reported in July. 

Whitehair was serving as the senior associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at the College of Medicine. He graduated from the Ross University School of Medicine and is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

“He has a well-rounded background as a medical educator and clinical leader, and he is a known collaborator both within the college and in the extended community – making him a particularly good fit during this time of expansion and transition,” the July announcement reads. 

So far Mellman hasn’t encountered any issues since Pilitsis stepped down and Whitehair stepped up. 

“Things seem to be running smoothly from my perspective,” he wrote. However, Mellman finds it odd that a search hasn’t started yet. 

“I was not aware that there was not any ongoing search,” Mellman wrote. “I do find that to be strange and I certainly wonder if there’s any relationship between the College of Medicine looking for a dean and FAU having difficulty looking for their new president.”

FAU is currently without a president, with Interim President Stacy Volnick serving in the role since last year. The university’s presidential search was determined to have violated state law and is currently inactive. 

Dr. Michael T.B. Dennis, chairman of the Advisory Board for the College of Medicine, echoed Mellman’s speculation.

“It’s certainly slowed the process down,” he said. “I think it’s one of the factors.”

Mellman looks forward to the future and believes the college needs stable leadership. 

“I think that the College of Medicine needs to find someone who will stay for at least a few years and especially at this time,” he wrote. “The school needs a strong leader because they are currently in the process of rapidly expanding the class size.”  

Dennis is focused on growing the number of students enrolled in the College of Medicine.

“As chairman of the board of the medical school, and one of its primary creators, I’m very pleased with the progress. As a matter of fact, we’re expanding,” he said. “We originally started with 64 students but we’re now at 80 students. And I’m working with the legislature and some others to approve moving that number up to 104.”

He’s also hoping to build relationships with more medical institutions. 

“We have a very good consortium of hospitals that are working with us now,” he said. “And we can begin to expand that.”

Mellman believes the dean is important to the medical school. 

“The dean can have a massive impact on the curriculum that is taught to students,” he wrote. “FAU has done a good job maintaining some traditional aspects of medical school curriculum such as ensuring that we have access to a true anatomy lab with hands-on experience.”

Mellman criticizes some aspects of the curriculum that he hopes the new dean will change. 

“Yet, they’ve also added a large amount of social science into the curriculum, which I have at times found to be overbearing and not the best use of our time,” he wrote. “Thus, I would like to see a greater return to a traditional medical school curriculum and hopefully the next dean will be able to deliver more of that.” 

Staff Writer Kim Nguyen contributed to this report.

 Mary Rasura is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this article or others, you can email her at [email protected] or send a DM @maryrasura.


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