A tribute to David Marshall

On July 1, David Marshall, Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, stepped down as Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science. Marshall, who held the position for seven years, was the inaugural Executive Dean during a period of both increasing academic excellence and budgetary challenges. The new Executive Dean, Melvin L. Oliver, SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences, recently paid tribute to Dean Marshall.

Melvin Oliver, right, thanks David Marshall for his leadership as the inaugural Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science. UCSB photo.Melvin Oliver, right, thanks David Marshall for his leadership as the inaugural Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science. UCSB photo.

"I would like to acknowledge David Marshall for his many contributions to the College of Letters and Science during his tenure as our first Executive Dean.

"Those of us who have been department chairs or served on committees know that even a three-year term can seem very long, yet David served as Executive Dean for seven years, and he did so with grace, humor, and staggering effectiveness.  David led the College’s transition from a Provost model to the current system in which our Council of Deans, chaired by the Executive Dean, leads the College. Through his efforts and leadership, today our four Divisions form a cohesive College that is at the very center of UC Santa Barbara's interdisciplinary and collaborative environment.

"David has guided the College through leadership change, major budget reductions, and staff transitions while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to quality. He has increased the visibility of the College and represented us on key campus committees David has the ability to reach ‘across the aisle’ and he has used that ability to good effect for the College. 

"An example of David's vision and leadership is the successful launch of COLLABORATE, the Instructional Technology Enhancement Initiative, which has benefited students and faculty across the College and the campus. Launching COLLABORATE involved much behind the scenes work by David, who with the assistance of the other Deans and College staff, reached out to the different campus constituencies, including students, whose support was key to the approval of the initiative. As we all continue to benefit from COLLABORATE, we thank David for his hard work in making it a reality.

"In addition to his duties as Executive Dean, David has been active as a scholar and a passionate advocate for the humanities. He is a champion of the liberal arts and of the value of public higher education, in California and throughout the country. On campus, he has been key in establishing the identity of the College of Letters and Science as the largest center of teaching and research at UC Santa Barbara, a fact that is sometimes overlooked! As he has humorously pointed out, the College is so big that it can be invisible, and last year, reflecting national social trends, he often led with the phrase, "we are the 97%". It is in large part thanks to David’s efforts as Executive Dean that the College’s strength and dynamism are broadly recognized at UCSB.

"And there is something that not everyone may know about David Marshall -- he is a very funny man with a great comedic wit, so much so that once he almost upstaged John Cleese at Convocation! I believe David could have a back-up career as a stand-up comedian. I guess there’s something about studying 18th Century literary aesthetics that just brings out the humor in a person..After all, we all know Diderot was a real cut-up.

"In his own public speaking David has been known to use a Latin phrase or two. I am going to stick with English and say, ‘David, Thank You.’ On behalf of the College of Letters and Science, it is my pleasure to present you with this set of crystal bookends, with the inscription, 'David B Marshall, Inaugural Executive Dean, College of Letters and Science, 2005-2012. For setting a high standard of excellence in Scholarship, Teaching and Service.'”

News Date: 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012