Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peg Barratt announced in May that she would step down, one month after approximately 300 faculty said in a survey that she lacked a vision for the college and was unfit to lead the faculty and students.
At a time when many question the relevance of a liberal arts degree, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is in a tenuous state of transition. Universities across the country must prove that the degrees they offer will benefit students in the professional world.
Despite the tension between the dean and the faculty last spring, this academic year should focus on pushing forward – not slowing down. Barratt’s decision to stay on through the duration of the year is a move that could stabilize the transition to a new dean and eliminate the likelihood of a short-term interim leader taking the helm.
But professors told The Hatchet in a Sept. 13 article that some faculty have deemed this year Barratt’s 'lame duck' term, meaning that she may potentially be stalled from finishing any major projects or initiatives.
Regardless of any frustrations faculty may have with Barratt and her leadership, they should set a positive tone for the year and put aside institutional politics.
At this transformational time for the University, it is not acceptable for faculty to drag their feet while working with an exiting dean.