February 8, 2001

Cohen Steps Down as Graduate School Dean

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Walter Cohen, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School, resigned his position as dean effective June 30. Cohen has been the Graduate School’s dean for eight years.

“I originally had a five-year term and said I’d be willing to go three more years,” Cohen said.

After his five-year term had expired, Cohen’s contract was renewed on a year-by-year basis. After the third year, Cohen decided not to renew it.

“I like this job, but it’s not like I’ve found a vocation,” Cohen said.

Cohen is also vice provost and a member of the comparative literature department, and intends to stay on as a member of the University faculty.

“[Serving as vice provost and dean] increasingly felt like two jobs, in the sense of working more hours than I want to,” Cohen said. “I could feel myself … cutting corners a little bit,” he said.

“You know, I want to have a life,” he added.

When he began his tenure as dean, Cohen had two major objectives. One was to give the graduate faculty and students a voice in the School’s administration.

“[That] goal was easy,” he said.

His other cause was to increase the number of underrepresented minorities across all departments of the Graduate School. As he looked back on his time as dean, he said he had made progress in that area, too.

“The growth in the number of minority students is not a statistical mirage; it’s really happening,” he said.

Cohen admitted that all of the problems he tackled have not been solved, but he was satisfied with the progress he made.

Besides concentrating on his vice provost duties, Cohen said he plans to teach more frequently than he has been able to over the past eight years.

Archived article by Maggie Frank