Appointment of Med School Dean Delayed Two Weeks

Tom Lawley, who announced his plans last semester to step down as the dean of Emory’s School of Medicine, will be staying at the University until Sept. 15 rather than Aug. 31, as he had originally planned.

Because the search committee in charge of hiring his replacement is still currently reviewing candidates for the position, Lawley has agreed to temporarily stay on until a new dean is chosen. He had announced his decision to retire as dean of the medical school, a post he had held for 16 years, on Nov. 13. After a year-long sabbatical leave, he plans to return as a faculty member during the following academic year.

James Curran, who serves as the dean of the Rollins School of Public Health and chairs the committee to hire the new medical school dean, explained that the committee conducted a national search of prospective candidates. Currently, the committee has narrowed the pool of fifty applicants to a short list of candidates for further consideration. He added that he expects the search to be completed soon.

According to Curran, the search process has taken longer than expected due to the many responsibilities associated with the position. Not only does the dean manage all staff and students at the medical school, but he or she must also oversee all faculty. This, Curran explained, includes “more than 2,200 full and part-time faculty who teach, conduct research and provide clinical care to hundreds and thousands of patients annually.”

Lawley’s accomplishments as dean of the School of Medicine has set the bar high for prospective candidates, noted administrators.

During his tenure, Lawley helped to expand and improve the school’s research program, which has grown five-fold — the School of Medicine currently receives one of the largest amounts of funding for research in the country from the National Institutes for Health. He also revamped the undergraduate medical curriculum, doubled the size of the faculty, created six new departments and approved the addition of “more than one million square feet of new space” to the medical school building, said Wright Caughman, the executive vice president for health affairs.

“Those of us who have worked closely with [Lawley] for many years know him to be a consummate gentleman, whose equable temperament and collegial instincts have made him a true university citizen and leader,” said Caughman in a letter last fall announcing Lawley’s resignation.

Caughman hosted a reception on Aug. 23 to commemorate Lawley’s work as dean.

— By Ashley Ferriera