January 29, 2001
Sanderson to leave Emory
By Michael Terrazas email@example.com
Emory College Dean Steve Sanderson announced last week that he is leaving the University to become president of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), one of the oldest and most prestigious conservation organizations in the United States.
Sandersons resignation, effective June 1, marks the end of a four-year
deanship that has witnessed tremendous growth in the colleges international
programs, as well as programmatic and physical growth in both the arts
and the natural sciences. His tenure saw the groundbreaking of both phases
of Science 2000 (Phase I, Emerson Hall, recently opened its doors for
faculty and students) as well as the Schwarz Center for the Performing
I never have really planned to do a specific thing,
Sanderson said of the arc of his career, which included an 18-year term
on the political science faculty of the University of Florida before he
came to Emory in 1997. I do get enthusiastic about things, including
coming to Emorythat was not, even a year before I came, something
I planned or hoped to do.
The opportunity at WCS, he said, was simply too good a fit to pass up.
Founded in 1895, the society operates five wildlife parks in New York,
including the renowned Bronx Zoo, and manages more than 300 field research
and educational projects worldwide. Given Sandersons lifelong interest
in conservation and ecologyduring the mid-1980s he served as a Ford
Foundation program officer in Brazil, designing and implementing the foundations
Amazon conservation programit was both a surprising and natural
Yes, I was surprised, Provost Rebecca Chopp said of her initial
reaction. But after I thought about it, I wasnt surprised
because this is an area where [Sanderson] has both incredible administrative
talent and real academic strength. And he loves this kind of thing.
For many years Ive worked on issues of how human societies
affect wild things and wild places, Sanderson said. I have
worked with scientists from WCS for many years, and a number of people
who work in the tropics for WCS are people Ive known because some
of them came to the University of Florida for their graduate education
or for short [faculty] stints. So Im really familiar with what they
do, and its something I write about and feel strongly about.
President Bill Chace said the position is one for which Sanderson is
almost ideally suited but the soon-to-be former college dean
will leave some large shoes behind him. We will miss Sanderson greatly,
Chace said. He did a great deal for the college. Hes a vigorous,
strong, clear-headed leader. He did a great deal for international studies,
for our understanding of the environment, for our revision of the curriculum,
and I think he managed affairs quite well.
Chopp also cited Sandersons role in helping shape the Council of
Deans, which she created during her time as interim provost during 199798,
when Sanderson also was easing into his new job as dean. Chopp said that,
while all the Universitys schools are unique, Emory Colleges
broad base of scholarship makes it a vital partner college
to the other, more focused schools.
This is an extremely important time in the life of the arts and
sciences because of the expansion of so much new programming, the increasing
strength of an already stellar faculty, the relationship of this school
between all the other schools, Chopp said. In all sorts of
new ways, its become sort of the heartbeat of the Emory campus.
Certainly there are partnerships between other schools as well, but I
think Emory College probably has the most bridges that can be built.
In choosing a new leader for the college, Chopp hopes to build another bridge to its faculty. She plans to listen closely to what they have to say about the future direction of the school. Afterwards she and Chace will decide what steps to take in finding a new dean.