Whitman dean of faculty stepping down

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WALLA WALLA — After six years of service in Whitman College’s highest academic post, Provost and Dean of Faculty Timothy Kaufman-Osborn is stepping down.

The longtime Whitman professor and administrator cited a desire to get back to academics and spend more time with his family in an email to the Union-Bulletin Thursday.

“ ... I realized that there are matters about which I care deeply, but have put on hold because of the demands of this position,” said Kaufman-Osborn. “Too many scholarly pursuits have been put on the back burner and too many cherished relationships have not received the attention they deserve.”

Before serving as provost and dean, Kaufman-Osborn chaired the College’s Department of Politics and was a professor of politics.

He will remain in his current position until June, after which he will go on a one-year sabbatical before returning to Whitman.

He said he is making arrangements for an appointment at the University of Colorado in Boulder to continue his research during his time away from the college.

“I will not be assuming any teaching responsibilities while there,” he said.

Kaufman-Osborn said he is uncertain what role he will play at Whitman College when he returns.

In a letter to faculty and staff dated Nov. 12, Whitman President George Bridges said he will appoint an interim provost and dean from among current college faculty members.

“Too little time remains this academic year to conduct a proper search, given demands of the (Now Is the Time capital) campaign, recruiting new students, building the budget and work on other campus issues,” Bridges wrote.

In that letter, Bridges said he hoped to have an interim provost and dean picked by Dec. 1.

Bridges also lauded Kaufman-Osborn’s 30-plus-year tenure as both a professor and administrator at Whitman.

“His record of accomplishments is, I believe, pre-eminent among all Whitman faculty, even those we routinely cite as legendary,” Bridges wrote.

Perhaps Kaufman-Osborn’s largest accomplishment came in 2010, when the college had its largest incoming class ever.

In response to the crushing demand for classes, Kaufman-Osborn oversaw a complete reworking of the college’s courses and registration system.

“ ... I hope that my leadership proved of some value as we worked through some difficult financial times, combined with the largest enrollments in the history of the College,” ” he said.

Ben Wentz can be reached at benwentz@wwub.com or 526-8315.

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