The past year has seen significant changes in administrative leadership in the department. In January 2012, John Meakin ended his term as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Judy Walker assumed the responsibilities as department chair. Walker brings outstanding research and teaching credentials, clear national visibility, energy, and a comprehensive vision of the profession and the role of the department to this key leadership position.
In addition, in January 2012, Allan Donsig became vice chair of the department, and in August, Richard Rebarber took over the responsibilities as the department's graduate committee chair for the 2012-13 academic year while Susan Hermiller is on faculty development leave, and Mark Walker assumed Rebarber's position as graduate recruiting chair in the department.
These changes represent a transition to a new generation of administrative leaders as the department enters an exciting and challenging new phase of its development. This transition of departmental leadership has been ongoing for several years as faculty who were appointed during the 1960s and 1970s are retiring or naturally passing major leadership roles to outstanding colleagues who joined the faculty more recently. Collectively, Jim Lewis and John Meakin have chaired the department for the past 24 years. Readers of last year's newsletter will recall that several of our senior faculty retired last year. These included Lynn Erbe, Dave Skoug, Roger Wiegand and Sylvia Wiegand, all of whom were long-time faculty members who had important roles in building the national reputation that the department now enjoys.
We have been fortunate to have had strong, visionary, committed leadership for many years, and the department has achieved real national prominence in all aspects of its mission. In many ways we are well positioned to achieve additional national prominence, although constraints on the university's budget together with likely retirements in the next few years of several more of the department's senior faculty present real challenges. But this also presents an opportunity for the department to obtain administrative support to appoint additional outstanding faculty in the coming years and to examine all aspects of its work. We are extremely fortunate that a new generation of faculty, under the leadership of Professor Judy Walker as our new department chair, has the vision and energy to accept these challenges. We invite all readers of this newsletter to welcome our new departmental leaders and to continue to provide them with the support that the department has enjoyed for many years.
– John Meakin