John Lucy, a professor on the Committee on Human Development and in the department of psychology, has been serving in two positions since the beginning of the quarter. Lucy, the master of the social sciences collegiate division, is also currently the interim dean of the social sciences division. Richard Saller was the previous dean until his appointment to the position of provost of the University last December.
According to Edward Laumann, professor in the department of sociology and the College, it is expected that Lucy will only temporarily serve as acting dean. “These are both demanding jobs,” Laumann said.”The expectation is that he can manage it for a short period of time.”
The task of managing both the social sciences collegiate division and the entire social science division is difficult, as both require a great deal of attention. Since the demands of the two jobs are very high, there is often very little time left for non-administrative work.
“It is very difficult. We should all be grateful to Professor Lucy for being willing to take them both on,” said Richard Taub, chair of the Committee on Human Development. “If anybody can do them, John Lucy can. But it involves loss of sleep, personal time, and the accomplishment of scholarly activity.”
According to Saller, however, both tasks are manageable. “In the winter quarter the job of master and dean overlap a great deal,” Saller said. “Most of the job in the winter has to do with faculty appointments and departmental appointments and the master and the dean both participate in those meetings. He’ll be sitting in a meeting wearing two hats at the same time.”
“Basically, my job is to keep things running until a new dean takes over. This involves making sure current initiatives, including faculty recruitment and retention, go forward,” Lucy said.
Such dual temporary positions have existed before. “During the last big transition, John Boyer did both jobs and the deanship of the College for a brief period,” Andrew Abbott, the chair of the department of sociology said. “The mastership is, roughly speaking, a half-time job at least. The deanship has become very nearly a full-time job. It is now clear that the division really needs full-time attention.”
According to Abbott, the master of the social sciences collegiate division is also the deputy dean of the division. “[This is done] so that coordination between the division’s interests and the College’s interests is made easier. Years ago there were many conflicts,” Abbott said. “It also means that there’s somebody to cover for the dean of the division if he or she needs to be away, is ill, or in this case gets promoted.”
Since Lucy is only holding both jobs temporarily, the University has already begun efforts to find a permanent dean. A search committee has been selected and begun its work. William Sewell heads the committee comprised of Gary Becker, Kathleen Conzen, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Robert Sampson, and Susan Stokes.
“Members of the committee are elected by the faculty,” said Taub. “I do not know about its deliberations, but I do know that there is some sense of urgency to find a replacement quickly. The committee will probably consider all appropriate people on campus, and maybe some off campus, too.”
There have not been many volunteers from within the University’s faculty because of the demands of the deanship. “It is an onerous job, and it is difficult to do research and teach while holding it,” Taub said. “Most faculty become professors because they like to do research and to teach. Taking on an administrative position, then, does not seem like a wonderful thing to do.”
According to Susan Kastendiek, the secretary of the faculties, the search committee met for the first time last Tuesday with President Randel and the provost and received its charge. “It intends to interview members of the divisional faculty as an initial phase of its information gathering,” Kastendiek said.
According to Lucy, the search committee should finish its work by spring, although there are no specific deadlines. “My term as master ends July 1. I would expect the new master to be in place by summer,” Lucy said.