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August 28, 1997

Dean of CGS resigns

Robert L. Carter has resigned after one year as dean of Pitt's College of General Studies (CGS).

He will return to Detroit to reassume the deanship of the College of Lifelong Learning at Wayne State University, the job he left to come to Pitt.

Carter's resignation, announced early this month, is effective Sept. 1. He had been CGS dean since Aug. 1, 1996.

In a written statement, Carter said: "This is a fine university with a strong commitment to the community it serves, and I think that I have contributed to strengthening the College of General Studies." He did not return phone calls from the University Times.

Carter resigned voluntarily, according to Provost James Maher, to whom Carter reported. "No one asked him to resign," Maher said.

"He [Carter] did us some good here in the past year, but he found that we need to resolve a number of issues connected with strategic planning for CGS. And he just decided that he would prefer to go back to his old job," the provost added.

One of Carter's key assignments had been to develop a strategic plan for CGS, which traditionally has served Pitt evening and part-time students. But Maher said he and Carter had not yet agreed on a plan.

"There are important questions with regard to the planning for CGS — defining and then meeting a new mission — which the college has been asked to deal with for some time now, and the answers they [CGS leaders] have provided thus far have been inadequate," Maher said.

Maher appointed Jack Daniel, vice provost for academic affairs, as interim dean of CGS. Daniel was unavailable for comment this week, but Maher said: "Jack has been working closely with CGS for several years now. He's really the one in my office who best understands CGS and can move in and do something." Daniel will work with CGS personnel to redefine the college's mission and develop a long-range plan, Maher said. "Once that has been accomplished, we can write a job description for a new search" for a permanent CGS dean, the provost said. "I'm hoping we'll have a clear idea of our search plans by the end of the fall term," Maher said.

While CGS's mission will change, the provost said he doesn't plan to cut the college's budget. "I think their current budget is appropriate for the kind of mission I have in mind for them," Maher said.

CGS Associate Dean Robert Comfort said Carter's resignation surprised the college's staff. "I was aware of Bob's unhappiness a week or two before [the resignation was announced]," Comfort said, "but the fact that he made the decision to resign was kind of a shock to everybody, including myself." Comfort said he doesn't know the source of Carter's unhappiness. "Bob didn't share very much. That was not his style." The fact that Wayne State was in the final stages this summer of hiring a new dean to replace Carter probably influenced the timing of Carter's resignation, Comfort said. The associate dean praised CGS staff for their dedication in the face of administrative upheavals, reorganizations and layoffs over the last couple of years. "Our staff people have been through a lot, and they've never lost their commitment to serving students. Even during this last change — and I'm sure it [Carter's resignation] was a shock for them — the commitment has been there," said Comfort, a CGS administrator for 28 years.

Comfort and Maher agreed that CGS students and faculty won't be affected by Carter's resignation. "I don't think they will feel any effects at all," Comfort said.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 30 Issue 1

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