June 27, 2006

Case Western Reserve University names new dean for undergraduate studies

Jeffrey Wolcowitz comes to Case August 1

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Jeffrey Wolcowitz, senior lecturer in economics and former associate dean and chief planning officer of Harvard College who also served as associate dean for undergraduate education at Harvard University, has been named dean of undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve University. He begins his new duties Aug. 1.

The dean of undergraduate studies is responsible for the academic advising, activities, progress and performance of undergraduate students. The dean also represents the faculties in communicating, implementing and enforcing academic standards and policies governing undergraduates. In addition, the dean assists students in the realization of their goals by providing information on educational opportunities, special programs and scholarships available at Case and elsewhere.

At Case, Wolcowitz also will hold the title of adjunct professor of economics.

"Jeff Wolcowitz's extensive experience in undergraduate course development, academic advising and resource planning for undergraduate education makes him an outstanding choice to serve as our dean of undergraduate studies," said John L. Anderson, provost and university vice president at Case. "Jeff has nearly 30 years of experience at Harvard and is a strong leader who also will be a great collaborator with other faculty, students, staff and administrative leadership at the university."

While at Harvard, Wolcowitz coordinated the first major review of Harvard College's undergraduate curriculum in 30 years, and drafted in April 2004 "A Report on the Harvard College Curricular Review," outlining a vision that reaffirmed the school's commitment to liberal education, providing each student greater flexibility to shape his or her own education.

"My first order of business will be to listen and learn," said Wolcowitz, who has either been a student, faculty member or administrator at Harvard for 30 years. "It is one thing to read about a university and quite another to see its processes and culture in person and begin to participate in them. At a more specific level, I look forward to becoming involved in discussions about SAGES (Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship) following the first year of full implementation for an entering class and the relation between SAGES and first-year advising, and to discussions about how to ensure an outstanding, exciting and innovative undergraduate program during a period of resource constraints."

He also reinvigorated Harvard College's Freshman Seminar Program, more than tripling seminar offerings and enrollments between 2000-01 and 2004-05, and now enrolling about two-thirds of the entering class. Wolcowitz also expanded and consolidated oversight of the curriculum and helped build an office with responsibility for curricular planning, course development, academic advising and resource planning.

In addition, Wolcowitz established the Office of International Programs at Harvard to make international experience a more central part of the undergraduate program. Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, the number of students studying abroad for credit during a term or summer grew by 150% to about one-quarter of a class, including those studying abroad in newly-developed Harvard Summer School courses led by Harvard faculty.

Returning to Harvard's economics department full-time in 2005-06, Wolcowitz was responsible for undergraduate advising, heading the sophomore tutorial program and taking a lead role in implementing a pilot program of faculty-led junior seminars, in addition to teaching.

Wolcowitz received a bachelor's degree in economics at Princeton University and his master's and doctoral degrees in economics at Harvard University. He has won numerous academic awards and wrote and published the renowned "The First Day of Class" chapter in the book The Art and Craft of Teaching (Harvard University Press, 1982).

Wolcowitz is a native of Commack, N.Y., on Long Island. He replaces Margaret Robinson, who retired as dean in 2005.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, June 27, 2006 08:58 AM | News Topics: Administration, HeadlinesMain

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