Stepping up

Luis Glaser, a former provost at the University, has been named the interim dean of the School of Education while the school searches for candidates to fill the position.

“We had a very sad situation. The former dean passed away, and the provost was looking for someone who knew the university and had experience, which I did,” Glaser, who is also special assistant to President Donna E. Shalala and a professor in the biology department, said. “I had some knowledge of the school because I used to be the provost, so [the current provost] consulted with the faculty and it seemed like a good idea, and I’ll do my best.”

Although Glaser stepped down as provost to dedicate more time to teaching, he was quick to assist when the University needed him most.

“I love this institution; I like the School of Education,” Glaser said. “I’ve worked with them on many things before and if [taking this position would] help the school in a time when it needed help, I was glad to do it.”

Glaser is committed to doing what he can to keep the School of Education working flawlessly, despite the need to handle a greater work load.

“I think we are the luckiest school on the campus that Dr. Glaser has agreed to be the interim dean,” Liz C. Rothlein, associate dean of the School of Education, said. “He is a real visionary and he sees very quickly what our issues are and helps us to solve them.”

Other professors at the School of Education are also pleased with Glaser taking the temporary position.

“Dr. Glaser knows our school real well because he had a real close association with Dr. Yarger, our former dean,” Harry Forgan, professor in the teaching and learning department, said. “He came to our faculty retreats every year, and he developed a nice rapport with faculty members and chair people.

“In the School of Education we have three departments and have three chairs for each department, and he works well with each chair. He’s the natural one to help us continue what we’re doing well right now and begin our search for a new dean.”

As special assistant to Shalala, professor in the biology department and now interim dean of the School of Education, how does he juggle it all?

“Well, by running around a lot,” Glaser said with a chuckle. “But also, perhaps the most important thing, which the faculty and I agreed, is that during this interim period, we’re not going to sit still. We’re just going to keep on going on whatever needs to be done so that this school continues to do its work.”

And that is no easy task. According to Glaser, a dean is responsible for everything that goes on in the school such as “their academic programs, any administrative functions, expenditures of money, creation, perhaps, of new programs.”

“So far the experience has been very smooth,” Mary A. Avalos, assistant chair of the department of teaching and learning, said. “[Glaser] stepped right in and offered some strong leadership for us. It’s been great under the circumstances.”

The search for a new dean is a long one that could take, according to Glaser, a minimum of six months, if not more. In the meantime, Glaser is doing his best to fill the position.

“We want to keep all of the programs going, hiring the faculty that we need to hire in various disciplines, moving ahead,” Glaser said. “We happen to be on an accreditation cycle that falls on this year, so we’ll definitely go through that process, and whatever other things happen, I’ll take care of them.”

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at