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  June 11, 2001

Singha Named Interim Vice Provost

Suman Singha, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture since 1995, has been named interim vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction.

Singha is ideal for the job, says Chancellor John Petersen, who made the appointment in late May. Singha will hold the job until a national search can be conducted to find a replacement for Susan Steele, who resigned last month to take up the post of provost at Mills College in Oakland, Calif.

"Suman's name popped up everywhere I went, asking people who would be a good fit for the job," Petersen says. "His administrative skills are top notch, and his desire to improve the delivery and quality of undergraduate education is second to none. I'm delighted he has agreed to join our administrative team."

Singha, who also is a professor of horticulture and former head of the Department of Plant Science, for the past year has worked with Robert Carothers, president of the University of Rhode Island, as an American Council of Education (ACE) Fellow. During that period, he prepared a white paper on enhancing interactions with community colleges. Petersen says Singha's experience in the area will help UConn move forward in its discussions with the community college system in Connecticut.

Singha, who already has visited 10 of Connecticut's 12 community colleges, agrees that working with the two-year schools is vital.

"I'm anxious to look at where we stand and where we should go" with the community colleges, Singha says. "There are two issues: refining an articulation agreement and relationship building. We need to work on both ends. I think we can bring in good students from the community colleges - which helps us, helps them and, most importantly, helps the students."

Singha also plans to work with the faculty to bring the new set of general education requirements, now being considered by the University Senate, to fruition. And, he says, he wants to study ways to improve graduation and retention rates, especially as they pertain to students of color.

He vows to work hard during his one-year appointment.

"Our objective is to move forward," he says, recounting a meeting with Petersen. "We don't want to just sit on our heels for a year."

Before coming to UConn in 1990, Singha was a professor at West Virginia University for 13 years. He earned his doctorate at Cornell University, and his bachelor's and master's degrees at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana, Punjab, India.

Singha was the recipient of the inaugural First Year Student Advocate Award, for his work with the First Year Experience program, and he serves on numerous University and professional committees.

Petersen says a committee will be formed early next semester to conduct a search for the full-time undergraduate education position. He expects a new vice provost will be in place in time for the 2002-03 academic year.

Richard Veilleux

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