By Molly Ashline, Staff Writer
Published in print Feb. 11, 2015
Dr. Jerry Pubantz will step down as dean of the Lloyd International Honors College (LIHC) at the end of the spring 2015 semester. Pubantz has headed LIHC for seven years, which is just a mere fraction of his forty plus years in education.
A well-respected political science professor, Pubantz published many works on the United Nations and served on multiple committees addressing international policy before becoming the LIHC dean.
The global focus of his career was a good match for the LIHC.
“International isn’t something you study. It’s just sort of the way our environment is,” Pubantz said about the importance of this focus in an increasingly globalized world.
Pubantz intimated that he stepped into the more administrative role of dean out of a sense of responsibility.
However, he has had little time to teach over the last seven years.
“I’ve only had, I think, two opportunities in the last seven years…to teach political science, so I want to get back to my department to do that and I have some research in that I want to do,” Pubantz said.
He went on to say, “I think this is a good time for a transition at the honors college.”
Despite the demands of the dean position, Pubantz acknowledges some important triumphs.
“We’ve increased applications in entering classes from 2010…this past year we had 650,” Pubantz said about the total number of students entering the Honors College.
He also mentioned an uptick in the number of students studying abroad.
“Those numbers have grown exponentially. We have, this year, 107 students studying for a semester somewhere around the world. That’s transformative,” Pubantz said.
LIHC also gained three residence halls specifically for honors students since Pubantz became dean.
Pubantz is wary of taking any sole credit for these accomplishments.
He puts a lot of emphasis on the effort of the LIHC staff and the honors faculty.
“We’re a small staff, and we all just work on everything, so it’s not so much my triumph as the staff’s triumph,” Pubantz asserted.
These joint successes are beneficial to the whole of UNCG.
With retention rates as a hot button issue for higher education, the Honors College sets an example for retaining students.
“The retention of freshmen to sophomores in the Honors College is the highest for any percentage for any cohort you can look at the university. It toggles between 89 and 90 percent,” Pubantz explained.
He surmises that this impressive rate is due to a sense of community in LIHC.
“They come, they find a special community, they get a special experience and they stay,” Pubantz said.
His hope for the future of LIHC and UNCG is a growth in international focus, diversity, community and expansion of the college.
“I would love to see the university become increasingly international, not just diverse in the sense of different populations from the United States, but populations from around the world,” Pubantz said.
His dream is that UNCG’s globalized campus will set it apart from the other 16 campuses of the university system.
“It would be really nice if 10 years from now, UNCG was seen as the international university of the UNC system.”
Concerning his successor, Pubantz was hesitant about naming any specific candidates.
He just thinks someone who is invested in the good of the LIHC and its expanding future should fill the role.
Pubantz says he’s looking for several specific qualities in LIHC’s future leader.
“Somebody who’s committed to international education,” he said.
He continued, saying, “Somebody who’s committed to or experienced with honors and with honors students and the kinds of issues and demands and opportunities they’re looking for,” Pubantz outlined.
“Obviously, somebody who is a pretty good administrator and who likes doing that administration,” Pubantz continued about his successor.
“You would hope it would be someone who would be here for a while to put their stamp on it,” he concluded.
Pubantz leaves the LIHC with a vision for the future, and though the Honors College is changing deans, UNCG is gaining back one of its most esteemed professors.