Following the departure of former Dean of the College William Green last spring, philosophy professor Richard Feldman has stepped in to take the role of Interim Dean of the College while the search for a permanent dean continues.
“I think he is a good choice to be interim dean, just from the point of view of him being a capable administrator and a very easy person to work with,” Philosophy department chair Randall Curren said.
Prior to his current role as Dean of the College, Feldman was a Philosophy professor, heavily involved on campus with both students and administrators, making him an obvious choice for the Interim Dean.
“He had a lot of experience with various kinds of student activities, working with the Curriculum Committee and the All-Campus Judicial Council,” Dean for Faculty Development Joanna Olmstead said. “He also had administrative experience being a department head and he had worked fairly extensively with the people already in the administrative structure dealing with students.”
His first major responsibility this year was the College Convocation ceremony last weekend.
“It was a lot of fun for me,” Feldman said. “When I agreed to take the job, one of the things I thought about was the challenge of speaking on ceremonial occasions.”
Feldman’s impact has been felt across UR’s departments. “Dean Feldman has been great for all of us in student affairs,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said. “He has been an advocate for students. He has brought a new perspective and new ideas to the work that we’re doing and that’s helpful for all of us.”
One project Dean Feldman is working on is the organization of an inaugural awards ceremony that will be a part of Commencement weekend.
“A gift to the college has enabled us to institute a new award.” Feldman said. “The ceremony will be part of Commencement weekend. There will be student awards in various areas – academic and non-academic – and they will all be given out at one ceremony where we recognize lots of different students.”
Feldman has moved into his new job nicely, according to Olmsted.
“He has hit the ground running and has interacted well with all the people reporting to him and setting up committees,” she said. “The transition has gone quite smoothly. I’m personally delighted to have him in the office – he’s great to work with.”
So far students are happy with the choice of Feldman for interim dean.
“Dean Feldman has assumed the Interim Dean position at an exciting time,” junior A.J. Grieco said. “With President Seligman’s revolutionary ideas for the University, it is fitting to have a Dean of the College who is as excited to embrace change. I appreciate Dean Feldman’s open door policy with members of the undergraduate community and his desire to stay up to date on student activities. Since this will be a remodeling year, it is encouraging to know student feedback will play a role in affecting positive change.”
However, there is concern about the ongoing turnover in the administration.
“I worry about the concept of Interim Dean,” junior Sam Lehman said. “The Dean of the College is vitally important to the University’s direction and vision. Having three deans, feasibly in a three or four year period, could potentially be really damaging to the University’s future position.”
Feldman, however, is excited and optimistic.
“I’ve been amazed to learn about the range of activities and services there are for students and how much there is that goes on behind the scenes from a faculty member’s perspective,” he said. “There’s a large group of dedicated people who are working very hard and I’ve been very favorably impressed and pleased to work with them.”Meiseles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.