In an email to LSA faculty, staff, and graduate students today, Dean Anne Curzan announced that she will return to the faculty when her five-year term as dean of LSA ends on June 30, 2024, rather than seek reappointment for another five years. Because a search for her replacement as dean will take many months, she wrote, “I wanted to give the provost as much notice as possible—and to be transparent about it with all of you.” She added, “The decision not to seek a second term is a choice I have made freely after much reflection, and I have appreciated the provost’s steadfast support.”
Dean Curzan explained that her decision not to serve an additional term stems from her commitment to well-being, and to centering purpose and joy in one’s work. “My years as dean have been filled with immensely meaningful and rewarding work, and the incomparable opportunity to work closely with remarkable people every day. Approaching the end of my first term as dean, I did not want to automatically assume that I would continue in the role, but rather to take the opportunity to consider where I could continue to make a meaningful difference and support my own well-being. I have long believed that careers should have chapters, and the end of this academic year is the right moment for my next chapter.”
Stepping back next year from the role as dean, she continued, will allow her to return to her public intellectual work as a linguist, and to teaching more regularly, “pursuits that bring me deep joy and purpose.” Her latest book, Says Who, which will be published next spring, is a language usage guide that takes a kinder, more inclusive approach to English usage. “This work,” she wrote, “is core to my mission as a scholar and teacher: to help the broader public understand linguistic diversity as part of diversity, and language change as part of a living language.”
In the four years she has served in the role so far, Dean Curzan has led the college through one of the most challenging and consequential periods in its history, guiding it through the COVID-19 pandemic and implementing transformative changes to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental health and well-being.
“Serving in this role has been one of the greatest honors of my career. We have accomplished so much in the past four years. I look forward to all the important work we can and will achieve in the academic year ahead.”
In a separate email to LSA faculty and staff, provost Laurie McCauley wrote, “While I had hoped Dean Curzan would accept reappointment for a second term, I respect her decision to return to the faculty, and I look forward to our continued work together during the 2023-24 academic year.” She hailed Curzan’s leadership in several areas, among them
- Creating new academic programs including the Meet the Moment Research Initiative, the new Program in Computing in Arts and Sciences, and the new Quantum Research Institute (a collaboration with the College of Engineering and U-M’s Office of Research).
- Structurally supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, including convening and implementing recommendations from task forces on anti-racism, the prevention of sexual harassment, and support for the LGBTQ+ community; building out the Collegiate Fellows program; the creation of two Disability Navigator roles and two Student Mental Health and Well-Being Advocates, among other things.
- Fostering community and well-being through a number of programs such as LSA@Play and policies for faculty and staff such as limiting email and establishing no-meeting days.
“Serving in this role has been one of the greatest honors of my career,” Curzan wrote. “We have accomplished so much in the past four years. I look forward to all the important work we can and will achieve in the academic year ahead.”