March 1, 1998
Valerie Greenberg hadn't planned on being interim dean. She hadn't planned on being dean, either. But after six months in the acting role, Greenberg accepted the appointment as dean of Newcomb College, effective Feb. 1.
"I've been able to start a number of things and initiate programs that I feel good about," says Greenberg, "and I want to see them to fruition."
It was because of the way Greenberg was "doing the job" that led provost Martha Gilliland--after consulting with representatives of Greenberg's constituencies of students, faculty, staff and alumnae--to waive a further search for Newcomb's top post.
"She's an unusual combination," says Gilliland. "First, she's a first-rate scholar and has enormous credibility with the liberal arts and sciences faculty."
Greenberg has been a professor of German at Tulane for 12 years. Her latest book, Freud and His Aphasia Book: Language and the Sources of Psychoanalysis, was published by Cornell University Press last month. Also, Gilliland adds Greenberg's engaging style and interpersonal skills to the mix of her deanly attributes.
"She connects with people, and she's an extremely good listener. "Lastly," Gilliland continues, "Valerie follows through and gets the job done." Greenberg's administrative skills were largely unknown before she was tapped for the interim deanship in July. "But it turns out she has many administrative skills," says Carol Cudd, a member of the Tulane Board of Administrators and a Newcomb alumna. "It is remarkable how she was able to pick up the reins of the college."
Harriet Schupp, another Newcomb alumna, notes that the combination of Greenberg's "great warmth, large heart and creative intellect make for wise and strong leadership." Greenberg's appointment fits into the wave of new leadership at Tulane, including Gilliland, on board in the provost position since last July, Teresa Soufas' appointment to the dean of the faculty of liberal arts and sciences this fall and the impending arrival of president-elect Scott S. Cowen next summer.
"I'm excited and have positive feelings about the new leadership," Greenberg says. "I think that Newcomb and interest in the college will flourish, starting with Teresa Soufas, who over the years has been very closely involved on Newcomb committees, and provost Martha Gilliland, who is interested in women's education and in the other divisions of Newcomb, including the children's center and the women's center."
From her understanding, Greenberg thinks that Cowen is interested in learning more about the coordinate college system and Newcomb's place in it. When he takes office July 1, she's ready to work with him to "help him learn about Newcomb's excellence and keep us on the forefront.
"There is so much excellence here already, and I do want none of that to be lost," Greenberg says. "We will continue to institute new programs. I want to ensure that I get continuing input from students as to their needs and desires. We will be flexible, open-minded and try to move with the times."
As examples of initiatives that she wants to see to completion, Greenberg cites one new program that will allow Newcomb students to interact with international honorary consuls and another in which students will cooperatively work with young girls in New Orleans public schools on issues of self-esteem and developing life options.
"I have such wonderful people to work with," Greenberg says. "It's been a joy. Being dean has opened up a whole new dimension of the university to me."
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