Wednesday, March 10, 2010

College of Arts and Sciences dean resigns

Kirkwood Hall. Courtesy of Erika Lee, The University Graduate School.

Bennett Bertenthal, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced his resignation Tuesday.

IU Spokesman Larry MacIntyre said Bertenthal’s decision was announced to IU faculty at noon by e-mail from Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson.

Hanson’s e-mail stated Bertenthal has decided to step down as dean and return to a full-time role as a faculty member, devoting himself to teaching and research. Bertenthal started his position as dean in 2007.

In an e-mail sent out to the faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences, Bertenthal said the direction of the events are moving in ways that are less compatible with his goals for the College.

“As a dean, my steadfast vision has been to advance cutting-edge research, scholarship and creative activities to provide students with a broad-based liberal education and to serve the state, the nation and the world,” he said in the e-mail.

Within the current administration, Bertenthal said there are significant differences
of opinion regarding how he should proceed and many bear directly on fundamental issues confronting the College of Arts and Sciences.

“These differences of opinion, some of which are quite strong,” Bertenthal said, “are not unusual among knowledgeable and dedicated administrators, but they can create disruptions and disharmonies which could be costly to the College and the University.”

Bertenthal said in the interests of beginning the transition as soon as possible, the University has requested he step down as dean at the beginning of spring break.

Friday will be Bertenthal’s last day as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to return to full-time teaching and research as a James H. Rudy Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences,” Bertenthal said. “This too, is a privilege because I will be working in one of the most outstanding psychology departments in the nation.”

MacIntyre said David Zaret will be the interim dean until a new dean can be chosen.

Zaret served as interim dean for the College once before in 2006, before Bertenthal was hired. Zaret has been a member of the IU faculty since 1977 and served as executive associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1999 to 2005.

(By Jake Wright | IDS Reports: 3/9/2010)