The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Tunks takes break

After more than 18 years in an administrative role, Thomas Tunks, associate provost, will leave the provost’s office January 2011, take a break and then return to his true passion—teaching.

Tunks said he would take a leave of absence during the 2011 calendar year and then return to the Meadows School of the Arts as a professor. Tunks served 12 years in the provost’s office and six years in the Meadow’s Dean’s office.

“While I consider myself very fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to be involved in central university administration, and enjoy very much the range of things I do and the many people with whom I work, I had to admit to myself that spending my time being with students and helping them learn is what I really want to do for the rest of my working time,” he said. “It really energizes me.”

He said he decided to leave his position in January after he spent the winter break “reflecting on it.”

Tunks also said he does not feel as if  he is stepping down.

“Actually, I think of it as ‘stepping up’, because in my book there is no better job than professor,” he said. “Teaching students is my first academic passion—the reason I went into university faculty work in the first place.”

Tunks said he would continue to teach the acoustics (Physics of Music) course with Fred Olness, physics professor.  He said he has told the dean of Meadows, Jose Bowen, and music division director Samuel Holland that he will teach what is needed.

“I would love to participate in developing a course or courses in the new university curriculum, especially the Nature of Scholarship area,” he said. “I really enjoy both teaching music courses for non-majors and teaching in the Music Education/Psychology area.”

Tunks said he has been involved in many areas on campus and does not think his leaving the provost’s office will change that.

“I have always been a participant in department, school and university committees and projects, and see no reason to change that,” he said. “If called upon by the provost’s office, dean’s office, department chair or others on campus I will be happy to pitch in where needed.”

Tunks said although many things were accomplished under his leadership he does not consider them his own.

“I don’t [and don’t want to] feel pride about things, but I do have a sense of accomplishment about many areas of improvement,” he said. “It is important to know that I don’t regard these as my accomplishments, but rather the accomplishments of many people working as teams in which I was privileged to participate and sometimes lead.”

“I really think teamwork is the key to progress in any institution,” he said.

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