January 9, 2007

Saller leaves University after 22 years

Ex-Provost Richard Saller and Dean of the Humanities Division Danielle Allen both announced their plans to leave the University in the upcoming year.

Saller, a professor in the departments of history and Classics whose term as provost ended on January 1, will begin as dean of Stanford University’s School of Humanities and Sciences on April 1.

Allen will step down as dean on June 30 to pursue work on two books as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Saller, a winner of the Quantrell Award and previous dean of the social sciences division, “is a distinguished scholar and a fine teacher,” said Dean of the College John Boyer. “He was a supporter of the College and College students, and I am sorry to see him go.”

During Saller’s provostship, “the University decided to expand the Regenstein Library,” Boyer said. “He also maintained the high standards of recruitment of faculty, was instrumental in the construction of the new residence hall, and was supportive of the development of the new art center.”

Of his new appointment, Saller stated, “I think that it will be an interesting change of pace and atmosphere.”

At Stanford, Saller will oversee 500 faculty members and a $330 million budget, and will be one of seven academic deans reporting to the Provost.

At the U of C, he was second only to the President and managed 1200 faculty members and a $1.5 billion budget.

Saller said he had been contacted by search firms about various administrative positions, but was not interested in most of them. Stanford, however, is a “world-class university” with a $4.5 billion capital campaign underway.

“It’s a moment when we’ll be able to plan new programs,” he said.

Saller, who focuses on Roman social and economic history, said he was further enticed by Stanford University’s faculty. “The best group of ancient historians in the country, or possibly the world, are at Stanford,” Saller said.

Allen is stepping down two years before the end of her five-year term as dean. She is expected to return to the University in 2008 to resume her faculty appointments in the departments of Classics and Political Science, according to then-provost Saller.

Allen was responsible for a number of administrative reforms in the humanities division, including consolidating committees on the Ancient World and the History of Culture into departments within the division.

“Like any change, there were mixed feelings,” Saller said. “A lot of faculty thought this made sense and was a good thing, and there were also faculty who were not so happy about it.”

Just this year, Allen was named a trustee of Amherst College and was appointed to the Pulitzer Prize Board. Allen is a former MacArthur Fellow and was named a Crain’s 40 under 40 in 2004.

Allen will work on books concerning the concept of equality and political change in her hiatus from the University.