Professor of English and American Literature Lawrence Buell will step down as dean of undergraduate education at the end of this semester.
But Buell's departure raises more questions than it answers.
Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures William M. Todd III will begin a three-year term as dean of undergraduate education in July 1997.
Since Todd will be on sabbatical next year, Professor of the Social Sciences David Pilbeam will return to the post for the 1996-97 academic year. Pilbeam preceded Buell as dean of undergraduate education from 1987 to 1992.
Because Pilbeam will serve for only one year, his appointment raises questions about why Buell is not staying on for an additional year to smooth the transition between himself and Todd.
Most sources indicate that Buell has served in his post longer than he wanted to and he is eager to return to teaching.
Buell was appointed to a three-year term as dean in 1992. He has served as dean for four years, one year longer than he intended when he initially accepted the position. Buell will be on sabbatical next year.
"He graciously agreed to serve for a fourth year," says Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles. "He is due for a well-deserved leave."
Leaving University Hall will allow Buell to devote more time to his teaching.
"He'll enjoy the time to be a scholar again," says Susan W. Lewis, director of the Core program.
Buell sounds relieved to see his term as an administrator coming to an end.
"I had requested a year ago to return to the faculty upon completion of my three-year term," Buell says. "I put it off one year and that seemed like enough."
Although speculation has swirled that Buell may have stepped down because of a conflict with Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68, Buell says that any charges are untrue.
Earlier this year, Buell said that he thought Lewis was a "proactive, highly organized and articulate individual," but stopped short of saying that Lewis had done a good job as dean of the College.
"I think he's given his all to the job, and I respect that," he said. "That's how I would phrase that."
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