Archive for Tuesday, September 21, 1999


September 21, 1999


Andrew Debicki announced that he will return to teaching when he steps down from his position as dean.

The dean of the Kansas University Graduate School and International Programs announced his retirement Monday.

Andrew Debicki said he would return to teaching and research full time in the humanities, Western Civilization, Spanish and Portuguese departments.

Debicki, 65, has been dean of the graduate school since 1993. His resignation is effective July 30, 2000.

The hunt for Debicki's replacement will be the fourth dean search KU has undertaken this year. In August, Tom Sarowski announced he was stepping down as dean of the business school. The university also is seeking permanent deans for the schools of fine arts and law.

Provost David Shulenburger announced in a statement issued by the Office of University Relations that a search committee for Debicki's replacement would be formed in the next few weeks.

Dean Sally Frost Mason of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences said Debicki would be sorely missed.

"I think it's going to be a real loss for the graduate school," Frost Mason said.

"He gave the graduate school an identity," she said. "He established the graduate school as a viable entity."

Debicki listed increasing the visibility of the graduate school among his accomplishments.

"When I took over ... the structure of the graduate school was not very visible," he said.

He also listed the creation of mentoring guidelines for doctoral students.

Debicki said his successor would face the challenge of creating a database to better track the time it takes graduate students to earn a degree.

He said he was proud of his work in bringing together all the departments that have international components as part of their programs.

Doing so "made them feel like they are part of a whole," Debicki said.

Debicki is the son of a Polish emigree to Cuba, where Debicki was raised. He joined the KU faculty in 1968 as a professor of Spanish and Portuguese. He was named a university distinguished professor in 1976. He worked as the co-director of the Center for Humanistic Studies and acting chairman of the Spanish and Portuguese Department.

He directed the Hall Center for the Humanities from 1989 to 1993. He was vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and public service from 1994 to 1996.

His wife Mary Elizabeth retired in 1996 as director of the Study Abroad office.

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is


In addition to a replacement for Graduate School Dean Andrew Debicki, Kansas University is seeking deans of business, fine arts and law.

The searches for fine arts and law deans began last academic year, and KU was unable to come to agreement with the finalists.

Provost David Shulenburger has said he wants to complete those searches this semester, in part to avoid the spring semester when most universities are in the hunt for candidates.

Shulenburger said in a statement released Monday, he would name a committee in a few weeks to find a new graduate school dean.

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