97-145 (Dean of the College)
Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed June 18, 1998
Contact: Mark Nickel

Kenneth Sacks resigns as dean of the College, will return to teaching

Kenneth Sacks has resigned as dean of the College, effective Aug. 15, 1998, to return to full-time teaching and research. Nancy Dunbar, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance, will succeed Sacks for a two-year term.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Dean of the College Kenneth S. Sacks has announced his resignation from academic administration, effective Aug. 15, 1998. He will return to full-time teaching and will serve as founding director of a new President's Seminar at Brown.

Interim Provost Sheila E. Blumstein has announced that Nancy Dunbar, senior lecturer and chair of the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance, will succeed Sacks as dean of the College for the next two academic years, serving from Oct. 1, 1998, through July 1, 2000. Dunbar is director of the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown. The dean of the College is Brown's senior academic officer for undergraduates.

"As a committed and enthusiastic teacher, Ken Sacks has sustained and enhanced the quality of Brown's undergraduate experience," said Blumstein. "His ongoing assessments of academic advising, undergraduate teaching assistantships and undergraduate writing have laid the groundwork for further improvements." Sacks also reorganized Brown's Office of Career Planning Services to emphasize undergraduate internships and provide a broader range of more effective services for all students, Blumstein said.

Sacks, formerly professor of history, classics and integrated liberal studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, came to Brown in the summer of 1995 to succeed Blumstein as dean of the College. During three academic years as dean, Sacks strengthened undergraduate research opportunities through development of the Royce Fellows Program and the Research at Brown program. He also focused campus attention on larger intellectual issues by instituting forums on the craft of teaching and by reintroducing the College Convocation series. In the latter series, members of the faculty are invited to discuss the life of the mind and their own commitment to the academic community.

"I thank Ken Sacks for his service as dean of the College, and I am delighted that he will continue to enrich our intellectual life by directing the President's Seminar program," said Brown President E. Gordon Gee. "These seminars will engage students and faculty on a single, vital issue throughout the academic year. Under Ken's leadership, I believe they will become a permanent and important element in the life of the mind at Brown."

"Although I have enjoyed the challenge of academic administration, my first love remains teaching and research," Sacks said. "Having worked with so many of our gifted students, I always intended to return to the classroom, and this seemed an appropriate time to make the change. Brown is a remarkable institution with an exciting future, and I will be a full and eager participant in that future."

Nancy Dunbar

Dunbar, a graduate of the College of William and Mary (A.B., economics, 1973), earned advanced degrees at Northern Illinois University (M.A., speech communication, 1976) and Pennsylvania State University (Ph.D., speech communication, 1984). She joined the Brown faculty as a lecturer in July 1982. She has provided leadership to the Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance as acting chair in 1991 and then as chair since 1993.

In addition to her formal academic interest and teaching duties in rhetoric and communication, Dunbar has served as an adviser or consultant on significant projects within the University. Since 1992, she has been a fellow of the Wayland Collegium, an organization that sponsors lectures and workshops in support of intellectual enrichment and curricular development. She has been coordinator of the Rhetoric Fellows program, which provides peer tutoring in speaking in conjunction with the Writing Fellows Program. Since 1989, she has been a consultant on communications issues to the Brown School of Medicine, and she has led physician education projects at Rhode Island Hospital. Her involvement with the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, which she now directs, dates to 1988.