Dean’s Update: Summer 2017
To: L&S Administration, Chairs, Directors, Associate Chairs and Department Administrators
In this summer update, I would like to address transitions in L&S and provide an update on our plans for re-organization. Let me begin by recognizing and thanking three outstanding L&S colleagues:
- Assistant Dean Linda Neusen has given 16 years of fantastic service to the College in the pre-award office. Linda has worked tirelessly on behalf of our faculty and staff — even as we submitted research proposals at the last minute — and has been dedicated to the research mission of the College.
- Susan Ellis Weismer has served for more than a decade as the Associate Dean for Research in L&S. Susan has been a steady hand at the helm, overseeing animal care, IRBs, intellectual property, and more. She has been an exceptional advocate for our Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF) students. Susan is returning full-time to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders this Fall.
- Assistant Dean Lillian Larson will be stepping down as Director of the Education and Social/Behavioral Institutional Review Board (IRB) on September 5, 2017. I and others in L&S express our heartfelt thanks for her expert and dedicated service to L&S and to the broader UW-Madison research community. The Education and Social/Behavioral Science IRB is now being run by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.
We wish Linda, Susan and Lil the best in their new adventures.
In July we bade farewell to Jen Karlson, who led the L&S Advancement Office. I am grateful to Sue Zaeske, who has agreed to serve as Interim Associate Dean for Advancement (in addition to her duties as Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities).
Last Spring I asked Professor and former L&S Associate Dean Maria Cancian to gather input and make suggestions to me for developing an organizational strategy for L&S Admin that could support and enhance strategic decision-making for the foreseeable future. Maria worked very hard on this project, interviewing about 50 individuals both within L&S Admin and on the campus and giving deep, careful thought to the structure of L&S. I am extremely grateful for her efforts. With impending and future retirements in L&S Administration and Maria’s recommendations, we have or will shortly be posting PVLs for an Associate Dean for Operations and Staff, an Administrative Program Specialist in the pre-award office, and a position for faculty HR. I am happy to report that Eric Wilcots has kindly agreed to serve as Interim Deputy Dean and Associate Dean for Research for the College. I am grateful for Eric for taking on this responsibility. We will soon start a search for an Associate Dean for Physical, Biological and Mathematical Sciences. Our changes are made with one goal: to help us better serve our departments, programs and students.
I recognize that change can create stress. Let me offer a few observations. First, I am extremely fortunate to work with such talented, dedicated colleagues in L&S Administration and the College. I do not want to mess this up. So my first thought as we embark on restructuring is the physician’s code: do no harm. I only want us to be even better. Second, change is necessary. We are being asked to do more. Wonderful colleagues are transitioning to other positions and to other life stages. We need to respond to new demands and transitions to keep the organization strong. Third, we need time to reflect on Maria’s recommendations, talk and work with others, and develop next steps. Thank you for your patience as we work through the process. We are committed to L&S Administration continuing to be well-respected across campus and a wonderful place to work. We will have more to say at the L&S orientation in late August and throughout the Fall.
I am looking forward to the coming academic year, working with great colleagues in South Hall and throughout the College. Enjoy the rest of the summer!