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January 19, 1995


I wish to share with the University community my perspective on two matters which have drawn considerable attention and raised concerns among many of you.

First is the status of the new College of Business Administration. The College will enroll its freshman class in the 1995-96 academic year. We project a first-year enrollment of 225 students, with tuition covering instructional and academic support costs.

Initially classes will be held in existing University classroom buildings, many of which are currently underutilized. I emphasize that the "College" is, first of all, an academic degree program–not a facility–and has been carefully designed to serve as an undergraduate counterpart to our nationally ranked Katz Graduate School of Business.

I also note that other University schools, including our internationally acclaimed School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), also began life here without benefit of an independent building housing its programs. SLIS flourished both without and within its own facility. And so will our new undergraduate program in business administration. I am committed to making this work, and indeed, to work very well.

The new program will be unique in our region. It will draw on the many strengths of our comprehensive research university. And it will ideally serve a small, well-prepared population of talented students. Several years ago, when planning began for a top-caliber undergraduate degree program, I believed this initiative was fiscally sound, academically prudent, and consistent with overall University goals. I continue to believe so.

Finally, on this issue, I want to assure you that we are continuing aggressive fund-raising efforts to support construction or acquisition costs for a new building. Until that time, we will proceed apace–recruiting and educating bright undergraduate students majoring in a rigorous program of business administration.

The second matter I wish to discuss is the resignation of Dr. Davis Bobrow, dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). In recent years he stabilized the school and provided purposeful direction. I recognize and appreciate his leadership and guidance.

GSPIA enjoys a long and honored history at this University. The school is one of the oldest of its kind in American higher education, and over the years has developed some excellent programs. GSPIA graduates hold important policy and management positions in government and public agencies throughout the world.

In planning the future of our University, we will identify the school's special academic strengths, as well as creative new ways it can interact with other University units. As articulated in Toward the 21st Century, which sets forward our long-term missions, goals, and strategies, the school will be encouraged to continue its pursuit of excellence among its peers. Achieving these goals, for GSPIA and for the University, requires management compatibility–in both style and philosophy–between the University's senior management team and the dean. Such compatibility did not exist.

The provost has appointed Mr. Edison Montgomery, who has ably served our University in various capacities, as short-term interim dean. In this capacity, Mr. Montgomery will lead the school through the current phase of the planning process. At the same time, the counsel and advice of the GSPIA faculty will be included in the deliberations regarding the choice of a longer-term interim dean. We will move forward later this year to form a search committee for a permanent dean of GSPIA who will advance the school in ways commensurate with the goals established in Toward the 21st Century.

I hope I have clarified these two developments in our University's academic life. Though both matters have raised concerns, they offer us new challenges and new opportunities to strengthen our educational enterprise as a great institution of higher learning.

J. Dennis O'Connor

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