UND’s LeBel says he will step down in 2013Paul LeBel, the University of North Dakota’s chief academic officer and second most powerful official, is resigning his post June 30, 2013, the university announced Friday.
By: By Pamela Knudson , Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
Paul LeBel, the University of North Dakota’s chief academic officer and second most powerful official, is resigning his post June 30, 2013, the university announced Friday.
He has held the post, officially called the provost and vice president for academic affairs, since February 2009. He was named interim provost that year, but was given the job on an interim basis October 2010.
LeBel said through UND spokesman Peter Johnson that he and his wife, Lucinda, are looking forward to the next phase of their lives together and that he has no particular plans in mind.
Asked if LeBel plans to stay at UND in some other role, Johnson said, “He didn’t rule that out.”
In his resignation letter to President Robert Kelley, LeBel said that at the time he resigns, “I will be well into the fifth year of service in the position.” He’ll have served nearly four and a half years at the end of fiscal year 2013.
Johnson explained that the average tenure of a provost is five years.
The university will conduct a national search to fill the position, Kelley said, using a committee that will include local and state representation and possibly a national search firm.
Describing LeBel’s tenure Kelley said it has been “very productive and above all expectations.”
“He’s been responsible for providing leadership for development of the strategic plan and developing new programs and assessing existing programs here at the university,” Kelley said, citing doctoral programs in petroleum engineering and nursing practice as examples of new programs.
Kelley also credited LeBel with helping to develop the unmanned aerial systems program and recruiting talent at the dean and faculty levels, including dean of nursing, Denise Korniewicz.
“He’s been my right-hand man here at UND,” Kelley said. “As provost, he’s second in command. And when he leaves in a year or so, I’m going to miss working with him.”
LeBel may continue in some leadership capacity, possibly with the School of Law, said
Kelley, adding that he didn’t know what opportunity LeBel might choose or if would be available.
Kelley said in a news release that LeBel will remain an important part of the leadership team will be fully engaged with the university community throughout the next fiscal year.
LeBel joined UND as law school dean in May 2004.
In February 2009, he became interim provost, taking over from Martha Potvin, who served in an interim capacity until resigning to take a similar post at Montana State University. The post had been held on a permanent basis since 2008 when Greg Weisenstein resigned to become president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
In October 2010, Kelley officially named him provost.
Before coming to UND, LeBel served dean and as a member of the faculty of the Florida State University College of Law. He was on the faculty of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary from 1982 to 1997, and the University of Alabama School of Law from 1978 to 1982.
His primary scholarly interest is in the field of tort and personal injury law, including products liability, workers’ compensation, and the relationship between tort law and the First Amendment.
Pamela Knudson is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.