February 3, 2002
Deans make different contributions to a college than professors do. That's the reason anthropology professor Tristram R. Kidder says he's accepted the position of interim dean of Tulane College for the next academic year.
"I have a strong commitment to the college," says Kidder. "And it seemed to me that this was an opportunity to be able to serve the college that has given me so much. "The fact is that I feel that I may be able to make a different kind of contribution as a dean than I can as a member of the faculty."
Kidder, a 1982 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences (whose name was changed to Tulane College in 1994), says that fulfilling the dean's role is "a way of giving back." After earning his PhD from Harvard University, Kidder returned to Tulane to join the faculty in 1989. He says his primary goal for next year is to make sure that Tulane College's existing programs continue to function well and serve students.
Beyond that, Kidder hopes to raise funds for student research so that students will have the chance to work on projects that are of interest to them in collaboration with faculty members. Such experiences help students develop career aspirations and training as they "engage their academic interests in a meaningful fashion," Kidder says.
Kidder also plans "to grow something that already exists"--the college's advising services. He wants to try to improve student advising by placing additional attention on helping students with their career selections as well as appropriately directing them regarding collegiate academic requirements.
Teresa Soufas, dean of the Faculty of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, asked Kidder to take the one-year appointment when Anthony Cummings completes his 10-year tenure as Tulane College dean in July. Cummings, who also has an appointment as a tenured associate professor of music, will be on sabbatical for a year to complete and publish a manuscript about 16th-century Florentine literary societies and academies before he returns to full-time teaching the following year.
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