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.