NORMAN — Paul B. Bell Jr., who has served as dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Arts and Sciences for the past 16 years, has announced he is resigning his positions as dean and vice provost for instruction, effective this summer, to return to teaching and to work on promoting international exchanges. He will also continue as chairman of the board of the OU Confucius Institute and will remain active in expanding OU programs with China.
OU President David L. Boren said he will recommend that the Regents bestow the titles of dean emeritus and regents’
professor on Bell, who is the longest-serving dean in the history of the College of Arts and Sciences. Bell joined the OU faculty in 1979 as a tenure-track assistant professor of zoology.
“We are all deeply grateful for Paul Bell’s 34 years of outstanding service to the university as dean and as a faculty member,” Boren said. “The bestowing of the title regents’ professor underlines the appreciation felt by the university family.”
As dean, Bell has been actively involved in promoting the globalization of the university and the international exchange of faculty and students.
In addition to establishing the international relations master’s degree program for military students through OU’s College of Continuing Education, he led efforts to establish the Confucius Institute, for which he currently serves as chairman of the board. He also established the multidisciplinary studies undergraduate program, which has graduated more than 1,800 students in five years.
In 2010, he established the College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Program, which this summer will send 156 students to eight countries on 13 programs led by 19 faculty members.
Bell also has increased the number of college-level scholarships from fewer than 40 to 306 and the number of tenured, tenure-track and renewable term faculty members from 362 to 536.
Bell was founding executive director of OU’s Enrollment Management Board, on which he has served for more than 20 years. He also has served as OU representative to the Council of Instruction of the State Regents for Higher Education for more than 20 years and on OU’s Graduation Task Force for 10 years.
Boren said he will recommend that the OU Board of Regents approve the appointment of the college’s associate dean, Kelly Damphousse, to serve as interim dean. Boren said the permanent successor to Bell will be named after an appropriate selection process. Damphousse will be eligible to be a candidate.
Damphousse joined the OU faculty in 1997, serving on the sociology faculty in addition to a two-year stint as a Faculty Fellow in the College of Liberal Studies, where he earned the Kenneth E. Crook Faculty Award for his work.
A President’s Associates Presidential Professor of sociology, he has served as associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences since 2005 and in 2007, he was named Outstanding Mentor in the President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Program.
He also serves as Big12/NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative.