Transitions and Progress – June 7, 2019

Colleagues,

The cadence of my emails, usually semi-monthly, has increased to weekly as I stay ahead of all the announcements to share. Within each is the evidence of the hard work taking place at our university. I must start this email, again, with my gratitude to those who tirelessly invest their time to bring so much to the lives of our students, alumni, faculty, staff and community at large. To all, thank you.

Arts and Sciences Leadership
Kalpana Misra will step down from her role as dean of the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences in June 2020. She will continue to serve as a faculty member after returning from a sabbatical.  I am grateful for her leadership and commitment to our students’ success for more than 16 years as dean and associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Kalpana’s six years as dean are distinguished by her dedication to sustaining an academic environment that nurtures the highest scholarly and research aspirations of faculty and students. Her signature initiatives include establishing the internationally recognized Oklahoma Center for the Humanities and the D’Arcy Fellows internship program which provides students with valuable professional experience before graduation. We look forward to a productive final year!

Our current search for a Collins College of Business dean gives us an opportunity to learn from the process before launching an Arts and Sciences dean search in the fall. We will also gain insight from task force work, especially as the new structure of University Studies is developed.

Task Force Member Selection
I am pleased to announce the three university-wide ad hoc task forces created to provide substantive details and formalize implementation plans for 1) University Studies; 2) the professional college(s); and 3) the Graduate School.  As I mentioned in my previous email, the members of these task forces are largely self-nominated, and in some cases, colleges held elections. I appreciate John Henshaw, Brenton McLaury, Kirsten Olds and Robin Ploeger for taking on chair responsibilities, and I’m thankful for the many volunteers who are giving of their time to help further construct and carry forward the True Commitment plans. These task forces will meet throughout the academic year and will work with the University Council, Faculty Senate and other appropriate committees and governing bodies.

The list of task force members and their initial areas of focus can be found here. In time, these questions will likely evolve as the task force work progresses.

Faculty Chair and Tenure-Track Lines
Congratulations to Dr. Donald Prudlo on his appointment as Warren Chair in Catholic Studies. The faculty selected him from many highly regarded applicants. Prudlo received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and currently teaches history at Jacksonville State University. Prudlo serves as a historical consultant for several media outlets, including Vatican Radio, CNN, Zenit, the New York Times, The Atlantic and NBC.

The deans and department chairs look forward to presenting several requests for tenure-track faculty lines next week when the TU trustees on the Board’s Academic Continuous Improvement Committee meet again. The deans collectively reviewed the requests at Wednesday’s deans’ council and decided to bring eight requests forward in support of programs that align with our strategic plan and growth areas. I look forward to a productive conversation about the possibility of these new positions. I understand that the hiring cycle varies from department to department, and the board committee will meet throughout the summer to consider additional lines.

Provost Office Transitions
The structure of the Office of the Provost has developed over the past year as the needs of our academic institution continue to evolve and take hold. To support the many newly established initiatives, Tracy Manly, Albert Rogers Professor of Accounting, has been appointed senior vice provost for academic initiatives. Professor of Mathematics Richard Redner will assume the position of vice provost for faculty affairs. Their commitment to TU students remains absolute, and both Tracy and Richard will continue teaching each semester while also serving in the Office of the Provost.

All the best,

Janet K. Levit
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs