Interim Dean Falk: Up to Speed, Maintaining Momentum
On January 1, Dean of Faculty Adam Falk took on the role of interim dean of the Krieger School, following James B. Knapp Dean Daniel Weiss' appointment as president of Lafayette College. Weiss and Falk are working together until Weiss' departure this summer to ensure a smooth transition and a continuation of the priorities set forth by Weiss and his leadership team.
Falk, a member of Weiss' administration since 2002, is a high-energy theoretical physicist who joined the Krieger School faculty in 1994. He was a member of the faculty committee that worked with Weiss to develop the School's strategic plan, and since his appointment to the administration, he has overseen the school's approximately 300 faculty members in 23 departments and 15 independent centers and programs.
Early in the semester, Falk sat down with Arts and Sciences Magazine to talk about his tenure in the interim post.
A&S: What do you see as your top priority during this period?
Falk: Over the last three years, we have developed a set of initiatives for the school. Foremost among them: improving all aspects of the undergraduate experience, from the academic to the social; further diversifying and building our faculty; providing the state-of-the-art infrastructure that our students and faculty need and deserve; and raising money for teaching and research, for endowed professorships, and more. As interim dean, I am continuing to move forward on that agenda.
One thing Dean Weiss did that was critical was put together an extremely talented leadership team, and we have been working on every aspect of the agenda.
A&S: What can you tell us about that team?
Falk: In Dan's tenure as dean, he effected a very significant reorganization of this office...to better align with the missions of the school. Paula Burger is now dean of undergraduate education, and Ed [Eaton] Lattman is dean of graduate education and research. In organizing the dean's office around these missions, we're able to attend in a much more coherent way to the constituencies of the school.
Paula and Ed are both very strong administrators with long histories at Hopkins. They're well positioned to view and serve the constituencies in a holistic way. It's a nimble, responsive, and expertly staffed team.
A&S: What's the most critical thing on your agenda in the near term?
Falk: The most important thing for me to do in the next year is to keep the [current fundraising] campaign moving. Chief among the campaign priorities are raising money for undergraduate scholarships and the Humanities Initiative, which includes the renovation of Gilman Hall. We need to keep the momentum moving forward in that, and I'm really looking forward to continuing that work on behalf of the school.
A&S: What's happening at the school now that's most exciting?
Falk: Well, the most visible thing is the construction of Charles Commons. They've broken ground on it, and we expect to occupy it in 2006. So we'll be watching that go up over the next year, and that's going to be a wonderful addition for
A&S: What can you tell us about the search for a permanent successor to Dean Weiss?
Falk: It's essential that there be a national search. The school needs to find someone just as extraordinary as Dan to be the next permanent dean.