The tower was lighted on the night of August 30 to honor Dean Paul Woodruff’s contributions to The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Woodruff will return full time to his faculty position in the Department of Philosophy on September 1 and begin work on a concept for a new center for research and teaching in practical ethics.
President Powers announced the creation of the Paul B. Woodruff Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies, which will support yearly faculty appointments. The endowment recognizes Dean Woodruff’s contributions as inaugural dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies and his renewed focus on undergraduate education. Under his leadership, the university has rigorously reformed its core curriculum. And the School of Undergraduate Studies has become a much-needed home for students to explore their academic paths and career possibilities. Now UT’s second largest school, Undergraduate Studies provides first-year students with small-group learning opportunities, access to distinguished faculty, mentoring and tutoring, and academic advising.
The awards will be made to improve a particular area of the core curriculum, to develop or expand interdisciplinary academic programs, to design new signature courses, or to mentor signature course faculty. Read more about the professorship.
Dr. Woodruff began teaching at The University of Texas at Austin in 1973 with a specialty in ancient Greek philosophy. After three years as chairman of the Department of Philosophy, he became director of the Plan II honors program in 1991 and served on Powers’ Task Force on Curricular Reform in 2004-05. In 2006, he was named the inaugural dean of Undergraduate Studies. This fall marks the completion of his six-year term as dean of the school.
“Erudite, thought-provoking, far-sighted—Paul Woodruff has been the perfect person to serve as the inaugural dean of undergraduate studies. Not only has he been an effective administrator, but more importantly, he embodies the very traits we want new college students to see and emulate,” said President William Powers. “Paul is a dear friend and a treasure to the university. I’m grateful both for his service and for the fact he’ll remain on our faculty to continue enriching our students’ lives.”
Dr. Lawrence Abraham, who currently serves as the school’s associate dean, will take over as interim dean on September 1. Dr. Abraham has worked closely with Dr. Woodruff, contributing to the formation of the Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling and contributing overall to the leadership of the school. Provost Steven Leslie noted that he is “confident that Larry will provide stability, continuity and vision for the school during our search process for the permanent dean.” A national search is currently being conducted.
Dr. Abraham joined the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin in 1975, teaching courses in biomechanics and neural control of movement in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. His leadership roles at the university have included being an associate dean of the College of Education from 1998 to 2002 and serving as chairman of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction from 2000 to 2008. He was a member of the Task Force on Curricular Reform, which led to the creation of the School of Undergraduate Studies. He became associate dean of Undergraduate Studies in 2009.
Dr. Abraham commented that “it is truly an honor to be asked by Provost Leslie and President Powers to serve in this capacity, advancing the efforts initiated by Dean Woodruff to improve undergraduate education at this great university. I look forward to continuing our work with faculty, staff, administrators, and students across campus as we prepare UT graduates to change the world.”