Prof Stepping Down After 12 Years as Academic Senate Leader

Dr. Murray Leaf

After a total 12 years of service, Dr. Murray J. Leaf is stepping down from his role as speaker of the faculty.

In May, UT Dallas President David E. Daniel presented Leaf with a certificate of appreciation, recognizing his service and devotion to improving the academic experience at UT Dallas.

The associate professor of anthropology and political economy, who has been active in the Academic Senate since 1975 and will now serve as one of its vice speakers, called his service “an honor and privilege.” His role as speaker has been just one aspect, he said.

The UT Dallas faculty has written every academic policy at UT Dallas and approves the course catalog each time it is updated.

“The effect of this involvement is not immediately obvious, since the best policies are the ones a good person follows intuitively. In the short run, good policies mainly show up in a lack of many small annoyances. But in the long run, they make everything work better: The curriculum fits together better, students can make better progress through it, and faculty can do the work of scholarship more effectively,” Leaf said.

“We have an environment of cooperation rather than conflict. The result is that we all get more done and it is far more satisfying. To my mind, nothing is more worthwhile than helping to build a good university.”

Leaf also has served as speaker of the Academic Council, which sets the agenda for the Senate.

His past service roles include executive director for the UT Dallas Accreditation Self Study, and a member of the President's Committee on Goals, UT System’s Faculty Advisory Council and numerous faculty search committees at the University.

The speaker of the faculty is elected by the Academic Senate, the principal representative body in the faculty governance system of the University. The incoming Senate meets in a caucus each May and elects its officers. This May, the Senate elected Dr. Tim Redman as speaker of the faculty and re-elected Dr. David Cordell as secretary. Redman appointed Dr. Richard Scotch and Leaf as vice speakers. The new Senate, with its officers, took office June 1.