College, role of new A&S dean
T. Casteen III
condition of the College
of Arts & Sciences is "excellent," but it's also
U.Va.'s current "need center" for fund-raising, President
John T. Casteen III
told Arts & Sciences faculty members at a Sept. 20 meeting he
called to discuss issues related to the search for a new Arts
& Sciences dean.
the well-attended meeting, which more than half-filled McLeod
Hall Auditorium, Casteen told the faculty that a search committee
of eight to 12 members would be named within the next two weeks,
and that it would be made up of faculty, students and possibly
a Board of Visitors
member. Vice President
and Provost Peter W. Low said he hopes to have the new dean
in place by July, when historian Melvyn Leffler steps down as
dean to prepare for a visiting professorship at Oxford.
current state of Arts & Sciences is " the best I've ever
seen it," Casteen said. "I think the way Mel approached
his role as dean was the right one."
The new dean must emerge as a consensus-builder, stressed Casteen,
who urged the faculty to "seek peace with other entities
within the University." The new dean should possess the ability
not only to lead U.Va.'s largest unit, but to raise private funds,
and to stay apprised of legislation that could effect the University,
specifically the College, said Casteen. He mentioned a current
bill that has sped its way through the legislative process, which
if passed, would mandate that all students take an American history
course before graduating from a public college or university in
Virginia. Such a law would have major implications for the College,
Casteen said. The University currently doesn't need to offer numerous
sections of this course because most students enter already having
met U.Va.'s requirement through advanced placement courses they
took in high school.
to a question asked by history chair Michael Holt about possibly
restructuring the organization of the College, an idea mentioned
at a Sept. 8 Faculty
Senate meeting, Casteen said, "There will be a search
for a dean of the College as it is organized now." By far
the largest U.Va. school, Arts & Sciences currently includes some
25 academic departments, 23 research centers and 16 interdisciplinary
said he hadn't discussed "the notion that the College be
split" with any faculty members in arts or sciences. "I
grew up in the College. It's my origin. I understand it. It's
what I like, but I also understand that things change," and
should be re-evaluated periodically, whether or not change is
determined necessary, he said. "If you as a faculty care
about such issues, then I suggest you study other models to understand
what might be best for the College."
asked the faculty to exercise discretion while the search is under
way, noting that the last dean's search had been plagued with
premature disclosures about candidates.
also noted that the Board of Visitors wants to develop a "cultivation
system" where young faculty are groomed to "step into
my job and other leadership roles at U.Va."
a dean or other University leader is a life- and time-consuming
job, one that may need addressing to prevent driving potential
candidates away," said Low, who is himself stepping down
as provost to return to full-time teaching next year, once his
replacement is hired.
Casteen and Low invited faculty members to write or call them
with concerns or suggestions. Casteen also said he would hold
future meetings to discuss the progress of the search, as well
as other items of concern to the Arts & Sciences faculty.