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   from the issue of September 28, 2006

Arts and Sciences dean to step down


Richard Hoffmann, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced Sept. 19 his resignation from the college. He will continue to serve as dean through the academic year, allowing time for a search for a replacement.


"There isn't anything magical about this moment," said Hoffmann, dean since 2001. "There's a rhythm to every job, and over the last year or so it's become apparent to me that my attention needs to be focused elsewhere. One thing I want to make very clear is that this decision has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in the future of the university. I just feel that I have done as much as I can in this role."

Despite significant financial challenges, Hoffmann is proud of accomplishments in the college in the past five years. However, Hoffmann is quick to emphasize that, "deans don't really accomplish anything."

"It's the faculty that do," Hoffmann said. "I always recognize my work as an administrator as being a facilitator of the work of others."

Highlights of his tenure include the creation of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the development and inclusion of software engineering as a part of the computer science and engineering programs, work in the physics and astronomy departments that led to the development of the new world-class laser laboratory, the creation of the Department of Statistics, and the generally improved relationship between the College of Arts and Sciences and the rest of the university.

Barbara Couture, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said Hoffmann's shoes will be hard to fill.

"Dick is extremely well regarded by his faculty and his administrative colleagues as a thoughtful, insightful leader who makes good things happen for students and our faculty," Couture said. "He has worked hard to encourage excellence, support interdisciplinary work and diversity, and collaboration across administrative units."

Prior to arriving at UNL, Hoffmann was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York's Albany campus. Before that, he worked for 18 years at Iowa State University in Ames.

After a period of leave, Hoffmann will resume his appointment as a professor of biological sciences at UNL. Even as a professor, he plans to remain attuned to long-term goals for the college.

"I'd like to see progress continue in the development of nationally and internationally renowned programs and in our commitment to building the core of the college with respect to undergraduate education," he said. "I expect they (administrators) will find a leader who can advance these goals and serve as an advocate for the college in the overall university."

Plans to replace Hoffmann will be under way soon, following appointment of a search committee.



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