25, 2002, Special Edition
Steps in as Acting President
Daniel Tatum, dean of the College (left), and Donal O'Shea,
dean of the faculty (right), will share the responsibilities
of the president's office while President Joanne V. Creighton
is on sabbatical.
Beverly Daniel Tatum
calls it her "presidential internship." On January 1,
with the start of President Joanne V. Creighton's six-month sabbatical,
Tatum assumed the role of acting president of the Collegeand
she couldn't be happier about the circumstances.
"I think I'm
in an ideal situation for an acting president because Joanne has
left the College in very good shape," says Tatum, who has
been dean of the College since September 1998. "She has an
excellent senior staff who are very good at what they do, and
I know those people well because I've been working with them myself
for the past four years. So I feel that I have good working relationships
with the people upon whom I am most dependent to help me, and
that makes this a fairly easy job to step into."
Tatum will be splitting
the responsibilities of the president's office with Dean of Faculty
Donal O'Shea. Dean of Students Rochelle Calhoun becomes acting
dean of the College, and Elizabeth Hogan, assistant dean of students,
stands in for Calhoun. Continuing in his role as the College's
chief academic officer, O'Shea will work closely with Tatum on
faculty personnel issues, such as tenure and promotion, and will
continue to shepherd the academic building projects, the expansion
and renovation of the science center chief among them. "I
do think that Don's strengths and mine complement each other very
well, and I think we'll be a good team," Tatum says.
One of her primary
duties will be to continue the planning process launched by Creighton
last fall to generate ideas to carry the College forward as a
leading liberal arts institution for women. "One of my strengths
is my capacity to engage people in dialogue," says Tatum,
a professor of psychology and education. "It's what I do
professionally, it's what I write about. I think the planning
process at least initially is a lot about dialogue, so I think
my particular strengths match nicely with the particular tasks
of the spring semester." She said she is looking forward
to engaging alumnae, students, faculty, and staff in that work.
Tatum will also focus
on engaging the alumnae community and traveling the country to
bring news to friends of the College. Although she has a major
trip scheduled each month, Tatum also intends to make herself
visible and accessible on campus. "I think this is a wonderful
opportunity for me to explore whether I would like the life of
college president," she says.
While she knows that
she has Creighton's full confidence to act as an independent agent,
Tatum says, she is aware of the challenges of her role. "Clearly,
you can't make sweeping changes in six months, not that you'd
want to," she says. "Joanne has laid out a good course,
and I hope to move that agenda forward."
Her new position brings
only one cause for regret, Tatum says; as dean of the College,
she has had the privilege of reading the names of the graduating
seniors at commencement. But there's a silver lining: the president
gets to shake the graduates' hands. "That will be a special
privilege," she says.