Revelle College Provost Daniel Wulbert will step down from his administrative post at the end of this academic year to return to his position as professor and researcher in the mathematics department. He served for five years as Revelle’s academic and administrative head, and two years as chair of the Council of Provosts.
Wulbert’s decision to leave his current post stems from his desire to return to mathematical research. He has been granted a one-year sabbatical from UCSD, and he will pursue research with a group of mathematicians in India for two months.
“It will be good for the college to have a new provost with fresh enthusiasm and creative ideas to guide the college in defining its role as the university settles in to a steady state,” Wulbert said in an e-mail. “I value and like university administration, but teaching and research are my roots. I have been granted a sabbatical for next year. I haven’t decided exactly how long I will stay on leave or where I will locate.”
As Revelle’s provost, Wulbert oversees the college’s various academic programs with the goal of maximizing every’s student’s educational experience. His many duties include facilitation of student-organization activity and oversight of advising, general-education courses, writing programs, housing and events such as orientation and graduation. Wulbert also works closely with other college provosts in monitoring campuswide undergraduate programs and the general undergraduate curriculum.
Additionally, Wulbert initiated a program last summer to teach the third quarter of the Revelle Humanities sequence in Rome, since it discusses the Renaissance. He also collaborated with Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Barbara Sawrey to organize a seminar for new faculty on teaching at a research university and — in conjunction with Ross Frank of the ethnic studies department — designed a program to recruit and mentor students applying for the country’s most prestigious fellowships and graduate awards.
Incoming students may be most familiar with Wulbert’s work as the chair of the committee that redesigned the Welcome Week Convocation this year, which was attended by over 3,000 incoming students. He has also worked to generate scholarship support for undergraduates, serving as founding chair of the Scholarship Committee for the past five years.
Wulbert reflected on some of the challenges in store for his replacement as provost.
“The university has doubled in size and grown from three to six colleges since I came here,” Wulbert said. “With changes that dramatic, the university struggles with deciding which functions are better delivered centrally and which are best delivered from the colleges. Similarly, we in the colleges struggle with deciding in which ways the colleges should be similar to each other and in which ways we should exhibit individuality — even idiosyncratic individuality.”
However, Wulbert is critical that the six distinct sets of general-education requirements set unfair and overspecific standards for its students.
“My college requires a year of calculus — a requirement completely inappropriate for everyone at an academically comprehensive university of our size, and Sixth College is developing requirements that only an elite small college would dare to attempt,” Wulbert wrote.
Wulbert also expressed a concern for student dissatisfaction with campus life. He has identified several factors leading to this discontent, including the lack of a vibrant city district adjacent to the university, a lack of four-year on-campus housing and a more science-oriented, studious student demographic than observed in other universities.
Wulbert entered administration gradually, initially entering UCSD to conduct research in mathematics. He chaired Revelle’s Curriculum Committee for over 10 years, co-developed several undergraduate courses and served as acting provost at Thurgood Marshall College for a total of two years.