Administrative changes ahead as Deans and Provost step down

Three top University of Miami administrators, Dean James Wyche of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Edward Pfister, dean of the School of Communication, and Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Luis Glaser, recently announced their resignations to the UM community.

Wyche’s resignation was announced in a May 17 memorandum to the Board of Trustees and senior members of the faculty by Provost Glaser.

“It is with a great deal of regret that I inform you… Dean Wyche has submitted his resignation… effective the end of this academic year,” Glaser wrote in the memorandum. President Donna Shalala and Glaser will “identify interim leadership for the College to ensure that all programs continue and remain strong.”

Wyche will remain at UM as a professor. University Librarian Bill Walker has been placed in charge of the search committee to select a new Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

During the Spring 2004 semester, Wyche was at the center of the controversy surrounding the closing of the Department of International Studies. The timing of his resignation raised speculation of a possible connection to the International Studies issues.

“The two are not linked,” Jerry Lewis, vice president for Communications, said. “When a change of this kind is being undertaken, it’s normal to do so following the conclusion of the academic year.”

Wyche stated he and administration made a mutual decision that he would return to his research focus of molecular cell biology and cancer research.

“This was the best time for me to return to this all-important field of research,” Wyche said. “We’ve never had such an opportunity to bring the product of this research to market.”

When asked about the International Studies controversy, Wyche said he felt everyone had agreed on the goal of making the department better, but lacked a consensus on how to accomplish it.

“There will always be differences on how to proceed on issues like this,” Wyche said. “I have nothing but positive feelings for the faculty and students of the INS department.”

The resignation of Pfister was also conveyed through a memorandum from Glaser’s office.

“As the founding Dean of the School of Communication, he will have served for 19 years in this position,” the memorandum stated. “He has done an extraordinary job in building the school from a department…to one of the largest schools on campus.”

Most recently, on Aug. 24, administration announced via E-Veritas the forthcoming resignation of Executive Vice President and Provost Luis Glaser, who has served in that position for 18 years.

“Provost Glaser has been an extraordinary academic leader for the University of Miami,” Shalala said. “He will be very difficult to replace.”

Shalala will be appointing search committees for both Pfister’s and Glaser’s successors.

The Hurricane will continue to follow up on any new developments concerning this issue.

Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at