Sacha Kopp, Stony Brook University’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, sent a letter to SBU faculty members Feb. 26 announcing he would step down from the position.
Kopp did not cite his reasons for resigning, according to an article in The Statesman, the Stony Brook University student newspaper.
“I am mindful of the frustration felt over the substantial operating deficit we inherited and the additional significant cuts faced by the college during these last four years,” Kopp wrote, according to the newspaper. “I have shared your disappointment over this unfortunate reality and done my best to ensure that the college both meets its core obligations to its students and sustains and builds its program of excellence.”
Michael Bernstein, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs for Stony Brook University, said in a statement that Kopp will remain as dean until the end of the spring semester.
“A consummate gentleman and scholar, Sacha has led the college with dignity and respect,” Bernstein said.. “His energy, vision and leadership helped the college continue its pursuit of excellence in education, scholarship, art making and professional service.”
Bernstein credited the university’s 30 percent growth in African-American and Latino students in the freshman class and a 30 percent growth in the number of arts, humanities and social science majors in the freshman class to Kopp’s oversight in recent years. Bernstein also listed among Kopp’s accomplishments the recruitment of 50 new faculty members in key areas of instruction and research and increasing the number of endowed professorships in the college from one to nine.
The resignation comes in the midst of budget challenges at the university. Students and faculty members last year protested the plan to consolidate departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Other changes included the suspension of admissions into the undergraduate degree programs in theater arts, comparative literature, cinema and cultural studies and into the graduate degree programs in cultural studies and comparative literature.
According to the SBU website, Kopp was the associate dean for undergraduate education of the College of Natural Sciences and a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin before coming to SBU in August 2014. During his time in Austin as a researcher, he studied the physics of elementary particles, and he is the author of more than 200 scholarly articles.
The university is currently searching for an interim dean, according to Bernstein’s statement.