Monday Minute, November 22, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

The University and the college have both entered a period of transition. At the University level, as you know, we have a new president-designate, Eric Kaler. I met him when he had lunch with the deans during his interviews last week, and I was mightily impressed by his intelligence, poise, tact, and sense of humor.

He brings to the position a great deal of knowledge about running a college (as a former dean) and a university (as a provost), and he will bring fresh insights to our institution. He strongly advocates for our research and outreach mission and emphasizes the need to support our core teaching role. At the same time, he seems ready to reduce the University's overhead, which is higher than comparable institutions, which will have a positive effect on our cost pool charges.

I was also delighted to learn that his wife, Karen Kaler, is a graphic artist/designer. I had an opportunity to meet her and introduce her briefly to our college and she seemed very interested in learning more about us. We talked about her work in graphic design, which she studied after considering majoring in architecture, and her interest in textiles. As was the case with Susan Hagstrum, Bob Bruininks' wife, who served on our college advisory board and who had a strong interest in the work we do in this college, Karen Kaler will be a wonderful addition to our academic community.

The other transition at the college level is that Becky Yust, our long-time and much-accomplished department head of Design, Housing, and Apparel, has announced her intention to step down at the end of this academic year and return to the faculty. She has served in that role for 16 years and has done a tremendous job forging the diverse disciplines in her department into a well-functioning unit, while leading it well through the transition to the new college. We will start working on setting up a process for an internal search for her replacement, which will begin after the New Year holiday.