Boston University computer science professor Stan Sclaroff has been selected as interim dean for the BU College of Arts and Sciences, replacing former Dean Ann Cudd, who has accepted a new position as provost at the University of Pittsburgh.
After a two-week information-gathering process by BU Provost Jean Morrison, which included meetings with all of the associate deans, some of the department chairs and the CAS dean’s administrative staff — as well as faculty input — Morrison recommended Sclaroff to BU President Robert Brown.
According to the faculty handbook, the process requires that the president make the selection.
Morrison described Sclaroff as someone who “is currently one of the senior-most and most experienced associate deans at CAS.”
Before starting the position as interim dean of CAS on Aug. 1, Sclaroff held the positions of Computer Science Department chair and associate dean of the faculty for mathematical and computational sciences in CAS. This closeness to the the previous dean influenced Morrison’s ultimate recommendation for Sclaroff as interim dean, the provost said.
“He is a highly regarded computer scientist,” Morrison said, “He’s won national awards, he’s among one of our most distinguished faculty members in computer science, but for the interim dean role, some of the most important qualities are knowledge about the current processes and activities within the dean’s office, and he’s been deeply involved in that for the last two years or so.”
Another factor in Morrison’s recommendation was other faculty’s favorable opinions of him, she said.
“You want someone who has the respect of the faculty, and everyone that I spoke with spoke very highly of his thoughtfulness and his willingness to listen and his knowledge about BU,” Morrison said.
Michael Sorenson, associate dean of the faculty of natural sciences in CAS, wrote in an email that during Sclaroff’s time as an associate dean and department chair, the two often consulted each other on various issues.
“Stan’s experience as a department chair and associate dean, his strong working relationships with staff and faculty colleagues in the Dean’s office, and his commitment to supporting excellence in all of the college’s programs make him an ideal choice to serve as interim dean,” Sorenson wrote. “We are fortunate that he agreed to continue his service to the college in this important role.”
After serving various roles in the college for 23 years, Sclaroff said that he is looking forward to representing the college, acting as an ambassador and collaborating with faculty, department chairs, students, staff and alumni.
“It’s really exciting to learn about what people are interested in and what they hope to achieve and helping them,” Sclaroff said.
Sclaroff said he is excited to work with the college’s many varied departments and learn about CAS students’ diverse interests.
“It’s very exciting to think about the full breadth of who we are and what we want to be, and that’s really the most exciting part of this whole gig,” Sclaroff said, “… that I’ll get to learn a lot more about it and I’ll get to help people in pursuing different goals that they have in mind at all different levels and all different departments and programs within the college.”
Sclaroff’s plan as interim dean is to continue working on different existing projects during the year, particularly a diversity task force at both the college and the university level.
“The first goal is to go through the year and to deliver the college to the next dean in a very strong position, meaning that we want to keep the momentum of all different projects that were identified in the last few years,” he said.
Sclaroff spoke highly of his predecessor, saying that while he is sad to see Cudd go, her new position at the University of Pittsburgh will be an exciting opportunity for her.
“She’s an amazingly dynamic and thoughtful leader, so it’s really kind of bittersweet because we really enjoyed having her here in the College of Arts and Science, and it was a real pleasure to work with her, but we’re also really excited for this career move for her,” Sclaroff said.
The search for a permanent dean of CAS will begin in the following weeks, Morrison said.
“When we begin the search for the dean, we will welcome both internal and external candidates, and certainly [Sclaroff] is absolutely welcome to be a candidate,” Morrison said.