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Former director of Plan II honors program appointed The University of Texas at Austin’s dean of undergraduate studies

Paul Woodruff, former director of the Plan II honors program at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named dean of undergraduate studies at the university.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Paul Woodruff, former director of the Plan II honors program at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named dean of undergraduate studies at the university.

In the newly created position Woodruff will oversee the quality of undergraduate education and lead the implementation of a revised core curriculum now being considered by the university community.

Paul Woodruff

Paul Woodruff

“I am extremely pleased to name Paul Woodruff to this important new position,” said William Powers Jr., president of the university. “The implementation of our new core curriculum needs a first-class leader, and Paul’s stellar academic reputation and his leadership of the nationally regarded Plan II program make him the consummate choice.”

“I am proud to be the inaugural dean of undergraduate studies,” Woodruff said. “I hope to be a champion for undergraduate education in every way I can. Thanks to the Commission of 125 and the Task Force on Curriculum Reform, we have a broad vision for improving our general program. We now have a specific proposal pending in the Faculty Council for adding weight to our core while giving students stronger skills and better experiences as they pursue their majors. With the support of the council and the deans, I plan to put a foundation under that vision.

“The task ahead of us faces the whole university. My job starts with talking and listening. It will grow through coordination to harnessing some of our vast resources to benefit undergraduates in new ways, and it will culminate in action.

“Today, I am dean over an idea. By next year, I will be dean over a functioning program. By 2010, I firmly believe the university will be a model for other great universities to emulate. We will prove that a top research-oriented university can bring as much passion and coherence to undergraduate teaching as a small, elite college.”

Woodruff has taught at The University of Texas at Austin since 1973, with an academic specialty in ancient Greek philosophy. He became director of the Plan II honors program in 1991 after three years chairing the Department of Philosophy. He is the Darrell K. Royal Professor in Ethics and American Society and holds the Hayden Head Regents Chair as director of Plan II. He has won the Harry Ransom Teaching Award and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Woodruff has written plays, opera libretti, poetry and short fiction, as well as a number of translations. His novella set in Vietnam won an Austin Book Award, and his play on returning veterans won a B. Iden Payne Award for best new play in 1983. His radio play was produced by the British Broadcasting Company in 1968.

His academic publications include a commentary on Plato’s “Hippias Major” and a collection,Facing Evil,” edited with Harry Wilmer. His scholarly articles in ancient philosophy include work on Plato, Socrates, Protagoras and ancient Pyrrhonism. He has also published in ethics and aesthetics. His meditation on a classical theme in ethics, “Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2001, and recognized by the Christian Science Monitor among notable non-fiction for the year. His latest book is “First Democracy: Facing the Original Ideas,” which was published in 2005.

He has degrees from Princeton and Oxford universities.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.