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Irwin Weiser named Purdue University's new liberal arts dean

 
Journal & Courier
 
June 29, 2010
 
Picking Irwin Weiser as Purdue University's dean of College of Liberal Arts was the right choice, say faculty and staff.

But some expect Weiser, who has been interim dean for the past year, will be up against considerable challenges ahead as the college and university face changes.

On Monday, Provost Tim Sands named Weiser dean after a national search.

"The College of Liberal Arts is not unlike a lot of colleges, facing budget issues with deficits and recurring funding issues," Sands said. "Dr. Weiser through his interim brought some fiscal stability and (improvement) to the financial situation."

Weiser, who has been at Purdue since 1981, said he will continue development of a strategic plan for the college.

Other goals include increasing the profile of the college within and outside Purdue, helping faculty seek outside research support and becoming a significant contributor to the new campus Global Policy Research Institute.

"One of the things I think it is time for us to do is review our core curriculum," Weiser said. "I like it, it is strong, but after 20 years it is time to review it. There are some particular directions I'd like to see us consider."

Philosophy professor Paul Draper said Weiser has strong ideas about the college's future.

"He has a lot of good qualities as an administrator working with faculty and understanding how the college works," he said. "The right person was picked for the job."

Weiser has been head of Purdue's English department since 2002. He has been teaching and administering introductory writing programs. He replaces John Contreni, whose appointment as dean ended last year.

The College of Liberal Arts used to encompass 12 academic departments. But three -- health and kinesiology, psychological sciences and speech, language and hearing sciences -- will become part of the new College of Health and Human Science on Thursday, the start of the new fiscal year.

Liberal arts will continue with nine departments and 17 interdisciplinary programs. The departments are anthropology, communication, English, foreign languages and literatures, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, and visual and performing arts.
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