Category: Ruppersburg

Ruppersburg named interim Vice Provost

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ruppersburg head shotIt is with a heavy heart but great pride that we share reports that senior associate dean Hugh Ruppersburg has been named interim vice provost of UGA:

Ruppersburg served as interim dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences from 2011 to 2012 and has served as its senior associate dean since 2005. Earlier this year, he was named University Professor, an honor bestowed selectively on UGA faculty who have had a significant impact on the university in addition to fulfilling their normal academic responsibilities.

His appointment as interim vice provost, which is effective Aug. 1, was announced by interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost Libby V. Morris.

"Dr. Ruppersburg has repeatedly demonstrated his deep commitment to the University of Georgia by serving with distinction in a variety of administrative roles," Morris said. "He brings a wealth of experience to the Provost's Office, and I look forward to working with him during this transition period."

A tremendous advocate for and practitioner of the liberals arts, Ruppersburg has been a great leader and friend of the Franklin College for many years. We are confident this will continue as he takes a well-deserved place at the top of the university leadership. Congratulations, Dr. Ruppersburg, and best of luck in your future endeavors. 

Ruppersburg: Dictionaries as Big Data

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dictionary, OED spine, with pagesDo you keep a dictionary close? Consult it everyday? Multiple times per day? Do you realize the vast amounts of knowledge sitting idly by within those covers? Wonderful to consider.

And then consider how language as a source of power has been controlled at various times in the past, and how much we have at our fingertips now. Are we doing enough with it? The question is self-refuting.

The Dictionary Society of North America held is holding its 2013 Biennal Meeting at UGA this past weekend and, again, for more elegant thoughts on the subject, we turn the blog over to Franklin College senior associate dean and noted scholar of American literature and culture, Hugh Ruppersburg:

I’m pleased to welcome the members of the Dictionary Society of North America to the University of Georgia and to say a few words of exhortation as you prepare for your 19th biennial meeting.  My field is literary studies, and though I have used dictionaries all my life, in paper and digital form, I can’t claim to know a lot about how they are put together and the thinking that lies behind them.  I do think of dictionaries as an original form of Big Data (with capital letters), a linguistic and cultural archive of information about how we think and talk and feel that contains the deepest substance and meanings of our civilizations.  Dictionaries are (and maybe this is an old-fashioned concept) archives of the most important sort. 

Many of you may think of yourselves as humanists, some of you may be social scientists, and some of you may be in other fields entirely, such as computing, but I think of all of you as humanists.  The process of putting together a dictionary is a fundamentally humanistic one because language is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

It is almost a hackneyed cliché these days to say that we are in a state of fundamental change.  I think that the change happening right now is more sweeping and fundamental than any of us realize.  Lexicographers and those who conceptualize and construct and talk about dictionaries face the same challenges that the humanities at large are facing: how is change going to change us?  How will digital technology transform us?  Are the boundaries by which we’ve traditionally defined ourselves becoming more destructive than creative?  How are constantly shifting cultural and national and linguistic and ideological boundaries going to affect what we as humanists, what you as dictionary makers, do? 

We can’t sit back and be passive as change happens. We have to take charge. We have to control the process of change.  Once we come out on the other side of whatever place it is we are in right now, however unfamiliar the new territory and its terrains and disciplines may be, we have to make certain that the values that have been important to humanistic studies since their beginnings survive.

Thank you for what you do.  And with that, I hope you will have a pleasant and productive conference here at the University of Georgia, where spring is fast becoming summer, that time of year when above all else air conditioners are king.

text of Ruppersburg's introductory remarks delivered at the meeting.

Image: the OED, a popular favorite - especially for the etymologist in your life.

Graduation Day

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The long and winding road leads to here. Congratulations to all students, parents, friends and standers-by. For a much more eloquent rendering, I turn the blog over to Franklin College senior associate dean Hugh Ruppersburg, from his prepared remarks at the Lamar Dodd School of Art commencement and awards ceremony earlier this week:

I am pleased to be here to offer congratulations and best wishes to those of you who are marking your graduation today from the University of Georgia with a degree from the Lamar Dodd School of Art.  You’ve worked hard, you have much to be proud of, you ought to feel good.  I extend these wishes to your friends, your parents and spouses and partners and special others, and to everyone in general, because at the end of the year everyone deserves a hug and congratulations.

I have two very brief but important imperatiuves for you today.  First, use your love of art, your creative and scholarly abilities, to do good in the world.  Don’t go back to your studio or office after this ceremony and close the door.  You haven’t earned the right to do that.  What you have earned the right to do is to use your education and your training and talent to go out and improve your society, serve your fellow human being, and do good for this planet.  This is what art is for—it serves the higher needs of humankind.  And humankind, in this day and age, really needs some help. 

Second, take every opportunity you can find to promote--among your friends, your family, the people you work with, and anyone else you happen to run into--the value of the arts.  A recent report from the Wallace Foundation found three intrinsic benefits of the arts:  one is pleasure and captivation.  A second is personal growth “such as enhanced empathy for other people and cultures, powers of observation, and understanding of the world”—these “cultivate the kinds of citizens desired in a pluralistic society.”  The third benefit is the sense of “communal identity” that comes from thinking and talking about the arts, the “expression of common values and community identity” that come from artworks that commemorate events important to individual, group, or national experiences.  And this report does not even begin to touch on the economic values of the arts, or their impact in providing a meaningful quality of life in our community.  Here’s my report to you: The arts are not a luxury, a convenience, or a casual pastime.  They’re an essential part of our daily lives, of our private selves, of what it means to be human and civilized.  Be sure to share that message.

Congratulations, and my best wishes to you all.

Optional soundtrack.

Ruppersburg named University Professor

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ruppersburg studio portraitThe University of Georgia bestowed one of its highest honors for faculty upon our senior associate dean, Hugh Ruppersburg:

Ruppersburg, a long-time faculty member in the English department who also has held leadership posts in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named University Professor.

The honor, first awarded in 1974, is bestowed selectively on UGA faculty who have had a significant impact on the university in addition to fulfilling their normal academic responsibilities. Deans of the schools and colleges forward nominations to a committee that reviews candidates and makes a recommendation to the provost. No more than one University Professor can be named in any year.

"Hugh Ruppersburg is known for his extraordinarily dedicated service as a faculty member and an administrator in the Franklin College," said Jere Morehead, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "But over the course of a career that has spanned more than three decades he also has shown his commitment to the university's broad institutional mission through tireless work on a wide range of task forces and committees. His efforts have made the university a better place."

There is no doubt about that, and his presence in the upper administration of the Franklin College have made the college a better place to study, learn, teach and work. Congratulations, Dr. Ruppersburg.

Image of Hugh Ruppersburg courtesy of UGA photography.

Georgia Writers Hall of Fame celebration

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The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame was established in 2000 as part of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library to honor Georgia writers and in doing so, introduce the public to the Hargett's rich collection of materials from Georgia's literary and cultural history.

The Onus of Responsibility

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Interim dean Hugh Ruppersburg addressed the UGA chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in December, 2011 on the thread of responsibility running through Arthur Miller's All My Sons, the scandal at Penn State and the future of these UGA graduates:

Arthur Miller’s play is about men who fail to do what is right, about a man whose desire to protect his name and his business causes the death of his own son and of other American young men fighting in the Second World War. Joe Keller loses his son because he allows profit motives to corrode and destroy basic human values. When his surviving son calls him a murderer, the accusation is not unjust. “You can be better,” Chris chastises his mother at play’s end when she asks him what more than sorry can she and Joe be for how events have turned out. “Once and for all you can know there’s a universe of people outside and you’re responsible to it, and unless you know that, you threw away your son because that’s why he died.”

Franklin Dean Finalists Announced

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When former dean Garnett Stokes stepped down this past August to become provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Florida State University, senior associate dean Hugh Ruppersburg was named interim dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. A longtime faculty member with vast institutional knowledge of Franklin College as well as a noted scholar of American film and literature, Ruppersburg has taken on the role of dean quite naturally. We are indebted to him for representing the College in such a forward-looking and effective manner. Meanwhile the University of Georgia is also moving forward to find a permanent dean for Franklin College; the finalists in the search have been announced and each will make presentations to the university community in February:

A search committee, chaired by Thomas Lauth, dean of UGA's School of Public and International Affairs, conducted a national search to identify the finalists.

The committee was assisted by UGA's Executive and Faculty Search Group.