The associate dean of the Kansas University School of Education will take over as interim dean, officials announced Wednesday.
Fred Rodriguez, a KU faculty member since 1979, will fill the position formerly held by Angela Lumpkin, who resigned suddenly on Monday, citing "personal reasons."
Rodriguez, 55, declined to expand on the reasons surrounding Lumpkin's departure but said the school's reputation and stature were not in jeopardy.
"This is not a ship going down by any stretch of the imagination," Rodriguez said. "We are in good shape."
Lumpkin's resignation is effective Sunday. She had served as dean since August 2001.
In announcing Rodriguez's appointment, David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor, said he had yet to determine whether KU would attempt to hire a permanent dean by fall 2005 or wait an additional year.
"I am very pleased that Fred has agreed to provide this most important service to the school and the university," Shulenburger said in a statement. "His long acquaintance with the school will make his transition to the interim position a smooth one. He has worked closely with Dean Lumpkin and has a very good understanding of the challenges facing the school and the profession."
Rodriguez's teaching specialty is multicultural education, and he has written several books on equity education and multiculturalism in education.
He served as associate dean from 1991 to 1992 and again since 2001. From 1997 to 2001, he was first director of the KU Center for Teaching Excellence.
He said conducting searches for 11 new faculty members -- a high number for the school -- would be among his priorities. The school also is preparing for a national accreditation review in spring 2006 and is in the middle of a program review process with the Kansas Department of Education.
Rodriguez also said the school had abandoned plans to cut its physical education program. Lumpkin had announced in March that she planned to cut the program but later announced a class would be admitted this fall.
He said he hadn't decided whether to apply for the permanent dean position.
Despite the mystery surrounding Lumpkin's resignation, Rodriguez said those affiliated with the school shouldn't be concerned about its future.
"We'll be just fine," he said. "We'll come together as a faculty and a school, and we'll get through this."