At the end of the 2013-14 academic year, Provost Steve Allred will step down from the position he has held since 2008, counting among his accomplishments the first-year seminar program, hiring three academic deans, creating two new interdisciplinary majors and helping fulfill The Richmond Promise.
“It was a combination of where I am chronologically, and where I am in my professional career,” Allred said of his decision to step down, which was announced to the campus community Sept. 30 in an email from President Ed Ayers, which detailed many of Allred’s accomplishments during his time at University of Richmond.
By next summer, Allred will have seen the completion of The Richmond Promise, the university’s five-year strategic plan that Allred helped develop when he began at Richmond, he said.
“One of [Allred’s] contributions that students will be most familiar with was working with faculty colleagues to create the first-year seminars, which have been extremely popular with both students and faculty across all five of our schools,” Ayers wrote in an email to The Collegian.
Allred said “the way we were able to accomplish this notion of all five schools working together,” creating an integrated academic experience, was one of the things he was most proud to have helped accomplish during his time as provost.
The university has also created two interdisciplinary majors during Allred’s time here: politics, philosophy, economics and law (PPEL) and healthcare and society. These majors, which draw from multiple schools on Richmond’s campus, have helped “move along that shared vision of being a place that has a truly different integrated academic experience,” Allred said.
Allred’s job is not done yet, though, Ayers wrote. “[Allred is] a great judge of character and has been central in many of our hiring decisions over the last five years,” Ayers wrote. “We are counting on him to find us a worthy successor to Dean Uliana Gabara in international education this year.”
After this year, Allred will take a year of sabbatical—the first in his 27-year-long career in higher education—and then he plans to teach for two years in the University of Richmond Law School, he said. He also plans to continue teaching the first-year seminar he teaches now, called Working: The Legal, Economic and Social Aspects of the 9-to-5 World, he said.
After those two years teaching, Allred will be 65 years old and able to retire, but “if I love it, then I can keep going forward,” he said. “I love teaching … It’s the most satisfying work in the world. It’s more focused than administrative work. It’s a different kind of reward.”
Before coming to Richmond, Allred worked for 22 years at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as a professor and administrator. After 16 years of teaching, Allred was drawn in to administrative work when he was appointed to be a faculty representative on a yearlong, special advisory committee to Chapel Hill’s chancellor, he said. At the end of that year, the school’s provost asked Allred to become the associate provost, a position he held for seven years before coming to Richmond.
“I’ve got the sabbatical to retool for teaching again,” Allred said, having last taught law students in 2001. He said he would also include some travel, his son’s wedding next summer and more writing in his sabbatical plans.
“This is embarrassing, but my last published, peer-review journal article was in 2002, which coincides with when I became an administrator,” he said.
Ayers said he was glad Allred, whom he considers a good friend, would be around on campus for a few more years, but he will soon begin the search for Allred’s replacement.
“We are working now to assemble a committee that will conduct a national search,” Ayers wrote. “People throughout the university will have an opportunity to tell us what characteristics we need in Dr. Allred’s successor. The next provost, I am confident, will want to build on the accomplishments of the last five years as well as the academic excellence of this place, built over generations.”
Allred said he had no doubt the university would have lots of highly qualified applicants to fill his position, and added that he thought it was important for “someone who comes here to understand what we’ve accomplished with The Richmond Promise, someone who understands what it means to be at a national liberal arts university and someone who can continue the great momentum we have going forward.”
Contact staff writer Maggie Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org