Sept. 15-21, 2000
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Off the Shelf
Peter W. Low
Peter W. Low

University provost to step down

By Bob Brickhouse

Vice President and Provost Peter W. Low announced Sept. 8 that he will step down as the University's chief academic officer at the end of June to return to teaching law.

A highly regarded legal scholar who has been a member of the faculty since 1964, Low has served as provost since 1994, overseeing academic and related programs in all of U.Va.'s schools except Medicine and Nursing.

During his term, the University has added numerous innovative courses, launched an array of interdisciplinary efforts and teaching initiatives, enjoyed a continued national reputation for the quality of its faculty, acquired new support for the arts, developed programs for adult learners, and established others that have put U.Va. on the leading edge of the digital revolution in education.

"Peter Low will be hugely missed for his dedicated work as one of the University's most skilled administrators," said President John T. Casteen III. "With a great mind and heart, he has handled countless complex issues with sensitivity and understanding."

Low, the Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law and an authority on constitutional law and civil rights, said that his years as provost have been "extremely rewarding. I have been particularly fortunate to have been associated with an extraordinary group of people in the Provost's Office. I owe them more than I can say for their loyalty and support over the years."

But "I am, and have been, primarily an academic, not an administrator," said Low, who will be 64 at the end of his current term. "If I'm going to return to my academic career at the Law School, now is the time to do it."

"He is a true friend of the faculty," said Patricia Werhane, chair of the Faculty Senate and the Ruffin Professor of Business Ethics at the Darden School.

Low's 7 1/2 years as provost, including an original term that he agreed to extend through the completion of U.Va.'s fund-raising campaign, will have been longer than administrators traditionally serve in that post. The University will begin a national search for Low's successor this fall.

He has played a key role in numerous University initiatives, many of them far-reaching, including:

Presiding over the University's self-study for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccredidation process.

Establishing the Program Review Process that grew out of the self-study. This systematic review of academic departments assures the quality of their curricula, teaching, research programs and services to students.

Leading efforts to create the University's new adult degree program.

Building a team of vice provosts, who remain half-time as teachers while handling specific responsibilities in the central academic administration such as faculty recruitment and retention and international activities.

Allocating funds to enlarge the Teaching Resource Center, to support Faculty Senate grants to improve teaching, to retrofit classrooms with new technology, to support the Desktop Computing Initiative for faculty and staff in academic departments, and to provide undergraduate students with funding for joint research projects with faculty members.

Heading the University group that explored the possible establishment of a branch campus in Qatar in the Middle East.

Low is an alumnus of Princeton University and a 1963 graduate of the U.Va. law school.



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