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Grad School Dean Should be in Place by End of Summer

By Ramy A. Arnaout
Executive Editor

The successor to Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55 will very likely be named by summer's end, according to President Charles M. Vest. Perkins has announced that he will step down from his current role in late August to resume teaching and research in the Department of Civil and Enironmental Engineering.

An advisory committee named earlier this year has been looking into possible replacements. "We're quite a way along in the process," said former Graduate Student Council President Roger G. Kermode G, one of two students on the 10-member committee.

"The committee's worked very hard and was very well aware of the time constraints involved" with the timing of the departure, Kermode said.

Ultimately, Vest is the one who will make the final choice of dean, Kermode said. "Vest will be exploring his options to figure out how things are going to go between the incoming deans, UESA, and the graduate school," he said.

Perkins a capable advocate

Graduate students said the new dean must be a strong student advocate, pointing to Perkins as a model in that respect.

"He's been great for us," said Patrick S. Wojdowski G, GSC vice president. "He's been really helpful for graduate students [and is] always ready and willing to work with us in the Graduate Student Council."

"He was more than willing to help out and give advice on what graduate students can do," Wojdowski said. "He's there for graduate students if they have problems with their adviser and taking it to the departmental level for some reason doesn't work."

GSC Treasurer Gregory E. Penn G agreed. "From what I've heard, it's going to be hard to find someone as good as the graduate dean we have," he said. There isn't anybody besides the dean whose job "is specifically to think about graduate students, someone to go around to different people in the administration and remind them how they could better serve graduate students," Penn said.

"As a graduate student, one of the most important things [to me] is that the new Graduate School dean is an advocate for graduate students," Kermode said. "The office should continue to be open for graduate students experiencing difficulties."

That advocacy is particularly important "with the funding changes that are going to create difficult situations for research assistants," Wojdowski said [see article, page 1]. "The dean of the graduate school will [have to] be someone who will really work to help the problems that that creates be minimized."

The new dean "needs to be aware of what's happening in graduate school education, particularly in light of the announced changes in graduate student funding," Kermode said. It is important that the new dean "look at innovative ways to make sure that graduate students can [continue to] be funded at least as well as present levels."