March 26, 2001
Paul named A&S
By Michael Terrazas firstname.lastname@example.org
Deciding that the best time to make major changes is in a time of major change, Emorys top leadership has created a new executive position charged with overseeing the Arts and Sciences (A&S) faculty in both Emory College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Bobby Paul, who began his tenure as dean of the graduate school in September,
has been appointed executive vice provost of Arts and Sciences, effective
June 1. The move was announced to faculty in a meeting held March 20 in
President Bill Chace and Provost Rebecca Chopp said they made the decision
in light of the recently announced departures of college Dean Steve Sanderson,
who is leaving to become president of the Wildlife Conservation Society,
and of Chopp herself, who announced last week that she will be the next
dean of Yale Divinity School (click
here for story). Dean Woody Hunter of the law school will
serve as interim provost following Chopps departure.
In recent years, Chace and Chopp wrote to faculty, many
of us in the faculty and the administration have recognized that key structural
problems inherent in the dual structures of the separate college and graduate
school systems diminish or block our capacity to achieve our ambitions
While we want to preserve the distinct identities of Emory College
and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, we are convinced that one
office, that of the vice provost of Arts and Sciences, should be designated
to coordinate the vision, develop the structure, and further the interests
of the arts and sciences at Emory.
Saying he was excited, humbledand nervousto be charged with
leading the graduate school and minding the store at the college
after Sanderson leaves, Paul said the recent developments pre-sented an
opportunity for Emory to move into the next phase of A&S
development. He said he hopes to follow the Woodruff Health Sciences Centers
(WHSC) lead in creating a strategic plan for both the academic and structural
components of A&S education.
In accepting this job, Paul said. I want to make it
clear that I am not the unified dean of the college and the
graduate schoolIm something else.
However, Paul was quick to point out that neither he nor anyone else
is exactly sure what that something else will be; Paul was
adamant in not committing to any specific structural changes, saying that
in the near future, with the help of Chace and Hunter, he will work with
A&S faculty to determine the best organizational model.
Paul also said the biggest challenge for him will balancing two opposing
mandates: the need, over the next few years, to solicit a wide range
of input in defining this new structure, against the pragmatic necessity
Whatever the outcome of the process, it will be designed to ensure that
A&S education comes to the forefront of the University. The
heart of any university is its college or equivalent, its center of liberal
learning, Chace said in the faculty meeting.
Chopp concurred. Ive been thinking for years about giving
heft to the arts and sciences, she said. Arts
and sciences give rigor to an institution, they allow faculty in the professional
schools to have a breadth and depth of knowledge. Arts and sciences has
to be the biggest player at the table.
There has arisen a clear and present danger, Paul said, of
Emorys becoming an institution dominated by its health sciences
center. He made clear that this view is in no way meant to criticize or
take away from the tremendous success of WHSCThats a
freight train thats not going to stop, he saidbut simply
a statement that A&S education cannot become so overshadowed that
it loses influence.
We want to be a great university that has a great medical center,
not vice versa: a great medical center that has an OK college attached,
Regardless of its goals, this appointment was met with no small degree
of trepidation at the faculty meeting. Chemistry Professor Dennis Liotta,
while assuring the administration that it will have the facultys
support, expressed regret that the decision was made so quickly and without
soliciting widespread faculty approval.
Chace and Paul acknowledged these concerns and admitted the process had not been ideal.
However, institutions have to contend with the contingencies at hand, Chace said, and the sudden departures of both Chopp and Sanderson presented quite the thorny contingency.
You cant set a process like this in motion in a total void,
Paul said. I appreciate [the administrations] confidence that
I can do it.
Paul said he is deeply indebted to the work of both Chopp and Sanderson
in strengthening A&S during their tenures. Arts and sciences
is much stronger for [Sandersons] having been here for four years,
Paul said. While I dont think I have many of his strengths,
I look to his model of leadership.
During the past four years, Steve Sanderson has helped craft a
unified vision on the Arts and Sciences, Chopp said. Under
his excellent leadership, we have all begun to think of the unity of this
important faculty and of its relationship with other faculties of the
University. Steve has showed us how the Arts and Sciences faculty reach
out to other disciplines as well as to other schools and centers around
In the short term, Paul stressed that he hopes to achieve as much continuity and as little disruption as possible. Following Sandersons departure on June 1, decisions normally made by the college deanthose involving tenure, hiring, etc.will be made by Paul.