Uday Sukhatme Announces Resignation as Provost


Photo courtesy of http://pressroom.blogs.pace.edu/files/2012/01/sukhatme2.jpg

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Pace Provost Uday Sukhatme will not seek reappointment as provost when his term ends on June 30, according to an email from Pace President Stephen J. Friedman.

Sukhatme, who served for five years, felt that this was a suitable time for a change at Pace.

“It is a time of transition for the president, as well as the provost,” Sukhatme said. “It is a good time to have these changes at the same time. When there is a transition everyone has their own ideas of moving forward so it is good to have these transitions at the same time.”

Sukhatme felt that during his tenure, Pace improved greatly and communication with faculty is very good.

Pace Chemistry Professor and Chair of the Faculty Council David N. Rahni issued a statement following the announcement of Sukhatme’s resignation:

“Provost Uday P. Sukhatme will step down from his academic leadership at Commencement this May.  He has served the university well, and will now be moving back to his professorship rank in physics. The university’s student retention, particularly on the NYC Campus, has markedly improved. The retention on the Pleasantville campus has remained very strong for some time. When most students finally arrive here as freshmen, they love the campus life, especially their close relationships with their dedicated excellent faculty, and so, most of them stay and graduate in four years.”

Rahni also said that, “Dr. Sukhatme is a true scholar and honorable gentleman.” He disputed, however, the claim that Sukhatme communicated well with the faculty.

“When he came here he met every now and again with the faculty but he carried that hands off approach of being withdrawn,” Rahni said. “That did not click here because at a private university the faculty and administration have to be more engaged.”

Rahni’s reasoning for this is because Sukhatme came from a public university, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, where he could have a more laid off approach with the faculty. But at a private school like Pace, he could not use the same methods.

“All his career [Sukhatme] was in state schools,” Rahni said. “I think the dynamic of state schools in laid back Indiana compared to a much more fast paced New York City environment and a private university were not made.”

One of the highlights of Sukhatme’s tenure was his priority of faculty research. During his time as provost, Sukhatme hired over 180 new faculty members with the purpose of enhancing faculty research.

“When one is hiring the best quality faculty and hiring someone who wants to do something that is best for the students, you must have a certain amount of teaching research in your portfolio,” Sukhatme said. “So I think the teaching has always been good at Pace and I wanted to improve the research profile.”

While Rahni agrees that research is important, it should not be the top priority at Pace.

“I concur with the faculty in that Pace has not become a research intensive university and nor should it ever become a research intensive university,” Rahni said. “Our primary mission is vested in quality undergraduate education.”

Despite stepping down as provost, Sukhatme will still be at Pace as he will become a physics professor. Sukhatme has some new ideas that he will like to bring to the physics curriculum.