With last week’s surprise notification that a much-anticipated new School of Human Performance and Recreation director (a bright, untarnished new penny from abroad) will not be joining the unit after all, the School suddenly faces a major challenge of leadership. Already into the new fiscal year with a new academic year fast approaching, the choice itself seems simple enough – either draw once more an interim director from the faculty, or manage the unit – the largest and most diverse in the CoH – through the dean’s office, with I myself as de facto director.
There are definite shortcomings of either approach. Absolutely clear, however, is that we cannot stand still, or worse, fall backward from the gains of the recent past. There’s far too much at stake, for HP&R, for the college, and for the university. Whoever leads must succeed in simultaneously uniting and pushing past current ‘comfort zones.’ Ideas and suggestions are still flowing in from faculty and staff this week. But decision and movement must come quickly.