By the time you read this magazine next year, this space should offer the first note to you from my successor. Planning is moving swiftly for the appointment of SPEA’s fifth dean. Austen Parrish, the dean of the Maurer School of Law here at IU, will chair the search committee and I am pleased to say it is comprised of faculty, staff, and friends of SPEA from both campuses.
Austen is a wonderful choice – he is gracious and very capable and knows some of our programs and people through our partnership on the Law and Public Policy Program. Ultimately, the committee will recommend several candidates to President McRobbie, Provost Robel, and Chancellor Paydar who will make the difficult selection.
This process was set in motion by my decision to step away from my duties as dean at the end of this academic year and return to the faculty. As is tradition, I will take a year of sabbatical with a goal of teaching classes for undergraduates beginning in the fall of 2020.
If you missed the announcement, here is a bit of the backstory. The summer of 2018 was a life changer for Sue and me. Our second granddaughter, Isabella, was born in late July, while our first, Louisa, is full of new phrases and adventures at the age of two. We have also cherished some quality time with our two living parents (both over age 90), though each are facing significant health challenges.
While motivated by a desire to increase my time with family, I’m also comfortable with stepping aside from SPEA now, after a decade of administrative service. During that time, I focused on only a few priorities:
- Expansion of academic offerings made possible by the recruitment of a talented cadre of new faculty, indeed the majority of faculty now at SPEA were hired in the last decade. We have nine faculty searches underway now with the potential of more to come, so we’re growing quickly.
- Heightened focus on faculty productivity in research and scholarship, including a meaningful increase in the number of peer-reviewed articles published and sizable growth in awarded funding.
- Stronger international orientation in all aspects of the School’s work from study abroad opportunities for undergraduates to new faculty with international agendas.
- Expansion of the School’s development activities. I am most proud of what the new Paul O’Neill Graduate Center is doing for the day-to-day life of graduate students at SPEA and for the image of SPEA on campus.
Although many challenges remain, SPEA’s fifth dean will have much to build upon. The Dean’s Council, Distinguished Alumni Council, and the Alumni Board are in a well-informed position to supply real-world advice as my successor establishes new directions for the School.
I have been honored to serve as SPEA’s fourth dean and am extremely grateful for the tremendous support I have received from our alumni as well as from university leadership, faculty, professional staff, advisors, donors, and students.
As the changes unfold in the months ahead, please know that I will treasure the memories of our times working together, whether in classrooms, meeting rooms, or at reunions. I will always welcome news of your family lives and professional accomplishments.