The committee leading a search for a new dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Education plans to pare down its list of candidates to three for on-campus interviews sometime in April, committee chairman David Bellar said.

“Those people will come down and present their thoughts and experiences to us, and there will be an opportunity for faculty to have a voice in the process,” said Bellar, director of the College of Education’s School of Kinesiology.

The university has hired a search firm to help recruit and vet candidates. The deadline for applications was Jan. 1, and a pool of six candidates will be interviewed next month with the finalists from that round visiting the campus in April, Bellar said.

He said the goal is to hire someone before the summer session.

“I’m hoping that we have an offer made to the candidate by the time the (spring) semester is up,” he said.

Gerald Carlson, former dean of College of Education, retired in August after 13 years in that position and a 30-year career at the university. In December, he was named dean emeritus.

Nathan Roberts, an education professor who directed the college’s doctoral program in educational foundations and leadership, is serving as interim dean.

The university recently made another interim dean appointment, naming Gwen Fontenot, an associate professor of marketing, as interim dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

Fontenot replaces Joby John who resigned in December. John remains on the college of business’ faculty, though is on sabbatical until the fall.

Fontenot’s appointment is for an 18-month term and a national search for a new leader will commence sometime in the next academic year, said James Henderson, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We didn’t want to start a search in the middle of the academic year,” Henderson said.

One of Fontenot’s priorities during her tenure is to fill four vacant endowed chair faculty positions within the college, he said.

“I’ve asked her to spend some time and think strategically to fulfill those endowed chairs,” Henderson said. “It really gives the college an opportunity to make a huge leap forward from their already strong position by bringing in faculty or having faculty who are here in those endowed chair positions.”

Fontenot said Friday that the positions will be advertised by late summer or early fall and the plan is to have the faculty hired and in place by fall 2016.

“We are developing a strategy for how these chairs can work in unison to help move the college forward, and our goal is that whoever fills these roles will work with the dean and faculty to investigate and develop new initiatives for the college,” she said in an email response.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.