Prof chosen to fill Fisher’s shoes

Margaret Matray

Ronald Braeutigam, associate dean for undergraduate studies and advising in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will become the new associate provost for undergraduate education Sept. 1. He will be the second faculty member in Northwestern’s history to fill the position.

Braeutigam will replace Stephen Fisher, who served in the position since its creation in 1997. Fisher told The Daily in November that he would step down at the end of the academic year to return to teaching on phased retirement. Braeutigam’s appointment was announced in a March 15 press release.

Braeutigam joined the department of economics faculty in 1975 and was named the Harvey Kapnick Professor of Business Institutions in 1990. He directed NU’s Business Institutions Program for nine years and served as president of the European Association for Research in Industrial Economics from 1997 to 1999. He joined the Weinberg administration in 2004. As associate dean he oversaw freshman advising, freshman seminars and the 12 College Advisers for upperclassmen.

Before coming to NU, Braeutigam taught at Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology. He has served as an economic consultant to Congress and as a research economist in The White House Telecommunications Policy.

Braeutigam said his recent appointment will be an extension of the work he is doing now for Weinberg. He plans and manages the school’s curriculum, courses and interdisciplinary programs.

“An associate provost will look at where we need to go,” he said. “You’re constantly asking about what students need. You have to be out there all the time talking to people.”

Braeutigam said he hopes to enhance communication between schools and create interdisciplinary programs that would allow students to have majors in more than one school.

“For the past two to three years the provost has tried to make it easier for students to transfer and cut across school lines,” he said. “We’ve made great strides. This is where (education) is headed.”

The demand for more hands-on advising and help landing internships has risen, and NU needs to create programs to give students what they need and want, Braeutigam said.

Braeutigam said he would like to expand academic advising and create coordinated, university-wide internship programs, similar to NU’s Chicago Field Studies Program and the Business Institutions Program.

Having a child at NU has given Braeutigam a unique perspective for his new position, said his daughter, Communication junior Julie Braeutigam.

“He sees a lot of the student views through me and my friends,” she said. “It helps to have a student here because it helps him see the student end of things.”

Although Ronald Braeutigam’s new position is more administrative than his past work, he said he hopes to continue writing and teaching. He will not teach next year, but plans on returning to his economics courses in fall 2007. Braeutigam will begin writing the third edition of his economics textbook in the spring and predicts it will take one year to complete.

He will attend provost meetings in the spring to prepare for his new position, but much of the transition will take place in the summer, he said.

“I love to work with Weinberg, but to get to work with the other schools is great,” Braeutigam said. “I’m looking forward to a challenge.”

Reach Margaret Matray at [email protected]