Funding to Be Top Issue for Next GSAS Dean
Maher's Replacement Must Reduce Teaching Loads, Increase Stipends, Scholars Say
Reducing teaching loads and increasing stipends will likely be the top issues confronting the successor to outgoing Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Brendan A. Maher, scholars said yesterday.
Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles announced Wednesday that Maher would resign by June. Maher, who began his three-year term in 1989, said that he was anxious to return to his research.
Although a variety of issues face the graduate school, scholars interviewed yesterday all maintained that funding is the most pressing issue the next dean will have to tackle.
Mary Gaylord, the director of studies in Spanish for the Romance Languages and Literature Department, said the next dean must specifically find ways to increase stipends and limit the amount of classes graduate students must teach.
"In the humanities, there is serious need for better support in the early years of graduate studies. Too many need to teach too early and too much." she says.
Porter University Professor Helen H. Vendler said that more of the burden of paying for graduate education must be born by students' parents, as is the case with those who go to law and medical schools.
GSAS Administrative Dean John B. Fox '59 said that in his three years as dean, Maher has taken some strides increasing funding for students, including winning a $3 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.
Maher has been especially interested in reducing the financial burden so that students could complete their degree more quickly, Fox said. "The major focus of his deanship has been to reduce the time it takes to get a degree," Fox says.
Apart from the issue of funding, scholars applauded Mather's accomplishments in recruiting minority students and supporting a graduate student center.
Fox said that a crucial task of the dean of the graduate school is to meet the needs of individual students and individual faculty members. "It is a much mire hand crafted organization [than the College]," Fox says. "Faculty members must respond to each student's intellectual development."
Fox, who has worked closely with Mather, praised the exiting dean's ability to pay attention to individuals as one of the strong points of his term. "He deals with the individual faculty members within individual departments about individual students," he said.
Fox said Maher, as an adviser to and trouble-shooter for Knowles and former Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence, has also taken an important role in shaping policy outside the GSAS.
Maher was saddled with extra deaconal duties during the University's presidential search last year when then-acting Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky, a member of the search committee, was frequently away from University Hall.
Maher had initially been considered a candidate for the position of dean of the faculty but was later regarded as too old to take the position on more than an interim basis.
As for who will fill Maher's shoes, Knowles said this week that he was looking for a person who could "command respect" and who cared for the educational offerings of the graduate school.
"I am sure Dean Knowles will look for someone who will keep a friendly and interested eye on the graduate school and at the same time be able to help with a broad range of issues," Fox said.
But Vendler cautioned that finding someone to replace Maher will be difficult. "It's a very daunting job. Someone very generous will have to take it on," she said