A Message From the Interim Dean
As you may already know, Dr. Paul Edelson has decided to step down as the Dean of the School of Professional Development after 27 years at the helm. It’s nearly impossible to grasp the full range of contributions that Paul has made since 1986 as he led SPD’s development through both good and rough budgetary times at Stony Brook. He has been a transformative leader, an inspirational teacher, an outstanding scholar, and a wonderful colleague. And he has been my friend for more years than I can remember.
So when I was asked last spring to serve as the Interim Dean of SPD while the campus searches for a permanent successor, I was both humbled and honored to learn that both Paul and Provost Assanis would place such trust in me. Frankly, it’s going to seem awfully strange this fall without Paul in the Dean’s Office, and the SPD staff and I will go through our adjustment period. But I have great confidence in the outstanding staff that Paul has developed in SPD and I will do my best to make the transition as smooth as possible (short of learning how to tie a bow tie).
On a personal note, I have been at Stony Brook for 36 years, all of it in the College of Business (previously known as the Harriman School). I’ve taught statistics and management science, along with several other courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, for all those years. In fact, this semester is my first in 36 years without a teaching assignment, in deference to my new responsibilities as Interim Dean. I must say that it feels very strange not to be in the classroom. My areas of research include efficiency and productivity analysis, health care management, and transportation. I have published 64 refereed journal articles and book chapters and I remain an active researcher.
I’ve also had some administrative experience over the years. I served as the Director of the Harriman School from 1996 to 2004, and as the Associate Dean of the College of Business since 2010. In addition, I have just completed an 8-year term on the SPD Curriculum Committee.
Plus I’m a two-time Stony Brook alum. (Once a Seawolf, always a Seawolf!) I received my MS and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics in 1974 and 1979, respectively. My wife is also a two-time alum (BS and MS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics – as a part-time adult returning student) and both my kids earned their undergraduate degrees here. This coming year, like last year, my wife and I will be SPD students! She and I took Italian 3 on Saturday mornings last year, and this year we will tackle Italian 4.
I expect that a permanent Dean will be in place by this time next year, and during that time I plan to work closely with the SPD staff and key people around campus to explore ways to build on the excellence that Paul has created. I am excited about the prospects and I am grateful for the opportunity. I wish everyone a great new semester!
Thomas Sexton, Ph.D.