Candidate update: Bean forces Karen Sprague to step down

Updated 5/24/2013: Having fired Karen Sprague for being insufficiently servile, Bean now has a list of replacements. Quality ones, actually. No doubt it’s a lot easier to get good people to apply when they know they’ll be working for Coltrane instead of Bean:


We present, for your consideration, an outstanding pool of finalists for Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies: 

Dr. Robert L. Davis, Professor of Spanish; Director of Language Instruction, Romance Languages; and Scholar in Residence, Global Scholars Hall 

Dr. Lisa Myōbun Freinkel, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Head, Department of Comparative Literature 

Dr. Amalia Gladhart, Professor of Spanish and Head, Department of Romance Languages 

Dr. Ben Saunders, Professor of English and Director, Undergraduate Minor in Comics Studies 

Letters of interest and CVs are posted at 

Please engage them at their public presentations and any other meetings to which you have been invited.  The schedule will be available next week at the link listed above.  After each candidate visit, a survey link will be activated on the same webpage as a way for you to give me your feedback. I look forward to reading your perspectives on the candidates.  Please contact me at if you have any concerns or comments on the process. 

Jim Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

Update 2/16/2013: Apparently this happened Friday. I don’t know much about this but it seems to be yet another non-sensical Bean decision. Or just as likely a Lorraine Davis one, since Bean doesn’t know how to make decisions. A commenter says it all:

She wasn’t fired – she was asked to step down as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies. Just one more example of Bean focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of taking care of real problems ( Espy, deKluyver, Union negotiations) he’s focused on an area that doesn’t seem to be a critical issue right now. Something about deck chairs comes to mind. 

And now Gottfredson and Bean will have to redraw their org chart. The Executive Leadership Team will be in a tizzy for months.

Sprague Letter 10/15/2012: We’re get an increasing number of emails like this – please keep forwarding them. Given Johnson Hall’s abysmal track record the faculty needs to be in the loop sooner, rather than later:

Jim Bean has let me know that he is considering eliminating Undergraduate Studies – presumably dispersing the offices within it to other units.   New Student Orientation has already been moved to Enrollment Management – something that Lorraine Davis did shortly before this summer’s orientation began in July. 

               Jim’s decision does not seem to be based on dissatisfaction with performance — either mine, or that of Undergraduate Studies generally.    He prefaced his discussion with me by saying that he thought the creation of Undergraduate Studies was a “stroke of genius” and that I’d done a good job.   He gave three reasons for thinking that Undergraduate Studies is not needed, or perhaps no longer needed: 

1.      1.  “The portfolio is a potpourri of things that don’t make sense.”   Apparently, the rationale for bringing together the units within Undergraduate Studies (Orientation, First -year Programs, Academic Advising, Teaching and Learning Center, and Accessible Education Center (formerly, Disability Services) ) has never been clear to Jim. 

2.      2.   “When Undergraduate Studies was created, there was nothing else.  In particular, there was no Enrollment  Management or Office of Equity and Inclusion.  Now we have those things, so functions connected with students can be handled differently.”    It’s actually not true that Undergraduate Studies was created because there was no Enrollment Management group to provide its function.   At the time, Enrollment Management was headed by Jim Buch and it included the traditional units:  Registrar, Financial Aid, and Admissions.   Moreover, it was Jim Buch, along with John Moseley, who saw the need to connect units like those in Undergraduate Studies more tightly to the academic heart of the university, and so they moved them out of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and into Undergraduate Studies.  In my opinion, that need still exists. 

3.      3.   “There are too many Vice Provosts, but we need another one (VP for Integrative Programs) and the faculty won’t stand for an increase in administration.” [Emphasis added.]

I don’t agree with Jim Bean’s ideas, and think that Undergraduate Studies has accomplished a lot, that our influence will continue to be needed, and that we are poised to accomplish even more in partnership with Ian McNeely in CAS.  I’m sending this message because I think it’s important for faculty to know what may happen to Undergraduate Studies.   If you want to talk with me directly, just give me a call or send an email. 

Karen U. Sprague
Professor of Biology
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

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