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June 11, 2001

Paul named interim dean

By Michael Terrazas


Graduate School Dean Bobby Paul has been appointed interim dean of Emory College for a term of two years, President Bill Chace announced in an e-mail to faculty in late May.

“The selection of Professor Paul as interim dean comes as a result of discussions with, among others, the Executive Committee of the college, the Executive Committee of the graduate school, the council of department and program chairs of the college, the Emory College faculty meeting as a body, and various meetings with individual faculty members,” Chace wrote in the e-mail, which also was signed by Provost Rebecca Chopp and soon-to-be Interim Provost Woody Hunter.

Having begun his duties as interim dean on June 1, Paul is on leave from his post as dean of the graduate school. Gary Wihl, associate dean and professor of English, has been named acting graduate school dean during the two years Paul will be on leave.

“As significant as these appointments are, no less significant is the responsibility we faculty and members of the administration have to engage in serious and sustained strategic planning about the administrative structures best suited to support the teaching and research talents of the faculty,” Chace’s e-mail stated. “Both Professors Paul and Wihl will be centrally involved in this activity, as will members of the faculty. At the current time we are discussing with the college Executive Committee and with the graduate Executive Committee how best to select the members of a strategic planning task force.”

Chace’s announcement also listed several criteria by which Paul was judged to be the best candidate for interim college dean following the departure of Steve Sanderson, who left to become president of the Wildlife Conservation Society on June 1. Among the criteria was “[the ability to] be open to all views on the question of reorganization.” Other qualifications included a strong professional stature based on scholarly publication and grant acquisition, experience in dealing with large budgets, a blend of “interpersonal skills and tough-mindedness,” familiarity with all college disciplines, and enthusiasm and commitment toward faculty self-governance.

Chace’s e-mail said discussions with the aforementioned bodies resulted in a list of three candidates for interim dean, among whom Paul was ultimately chosen.

“We ... came to the collective decision that Professor Paul possesses the best combination of intelligence, experience, patience and historical understanding,” the e-mail stated. “But this was by no means, as we quickly came to understand, an easy decision. Both of the other short-listed candidates also would have brought strengths of mind and character that would have significantly enhanced the professional lives of the faculty. Indeed, the search process has forcefully reminded us of the depth of talent and experience resident within the faculty.

“We now face the beginning of an important chapter in Emory’s history. We must collectively work to consider the organization of the college and the graduate school that will bring forward the best assets of the faculty. We must invigorate the talent for governance and self-governance within the faculty. We must evaluate the achievements within the faculty and seek the means to increase those achievements in the coming year. This, and much else, is now for us to do.”

Back to Emory Report June 11, 2001