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From the Director - 2013


It’s often joked that the phrase “we are living in a time of transition” was first uttered by Adam speaking to Eve. The phrase certainly is familiar, and it’s certainly overused. Still, it’s been hard to avoid that observation recently here in the Institute.

In 2012, UGA President Michael Adams announced his resignation after serving 16 years in that office. After a national search, the university’s sitting provost, Jere Morehead, was selected to become Georgia’s 22nd president. His appointment led to an opening in the provost position, and IHE director Libby Morris was named interim provost. Libby’s assuming such a central role in the affairs of the university is a clear sign of the great respect others on this campus have for her and for her many talents and accomplishments. Libby’s appointment meant new demands on her time. This past spring, she asked me to serve as the Institute’s interim director. Over the past weeks, I’ve been learning on the job, and the welter of new developments has certainly kept things interesting. This year’s IHE Report details the many transitions here in Meigs, so I will simply highlight a few here.

Of course, the most important developments involve the people who make the Institute such a special place, day by day. We are delighted to welcome this fall Professor Tim Cain, who joins us from the University of Illinois. Tim brings to us a very productive research program and excellent teaching credentials. We’ll waste no time in fully involving him in our work. Tim’s arrival reflects the striking recent changes in our faculty composition: only one of our thirteen current core and affiliated faculty members was associated with the Institute eight years ago.

We also welcome this fall several visiting scholars from abroad, as well as two new post-doctoral associates: Dr. Stevie Upton, from Cardiff University in Wales, and Dr. Sondra Barringer, from the University of Arizona. Both have excellent credentials, both have research interests closely paralleling those of our faculty and students, and both will no doubt add notably to our working climate and productivity.

The Institute faculty remain remarkably productive as scholars. Four have secured significant new external grants, work continues on several existing grant-funded projects, numerous research publications have been produced, presentations have been made around the world, and two have won major professional awards.

On the student side, enrollments have been strong and our entering classes appear extraordinarily well qualified. Over the course of the year, several of our current students have earned significant national honors and produced presentations and publications for nationally competitive outlets. Program completion rates remain very high and, in December, we look forward to the graduation of our second Executive Ed.D. Cohort, once again ably led by Drs. Charles Knapp and Elisabeth Hughes.

In the coming months, we’ll be marking what is special about the Institute in several ways. This fall will bring the 25th annual Louise McBee Lecture. As in years past, the Institute community will celebrate the remarkable accomplishments and contributions of Dr. Louise McBee, a pioneering leader in higher education practice and policy in the South. We are honored that this year’s lecturer will be President Teresa Sullivan of the University of Virginia. The lecture will take place in the University Chapel on December 6 and, as always, all friends of the Institute are cordially invited. Then, with the turn of the new year, we will begin celebrating another milestone: the Institute’s 50th birthday. We’ll be making announcements about these events in coming months.

In the end, it’s important to stress that the Institute’s many recent changes do not mark a transition in what the Institute is at its heart. What motivated its founders fifty years ago remains central now: developing, spreading, and applying knowledge about postsecondary education in the service of educational opportunity and improvement.

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