Several important staff members in Greensboro College’s higher administration plan to retire this year, and among them is Dr. Paul Leslie, senior vice president chief academic officer.
The chief academic officer’s duties include working to uphold the quality of education, looking for opportunities for school growth, implementing assessment strategies and working on projects with student resources like the library and PEAK.
Leslie says a good chief academic officer makes sure that the “creativity, innovation and hard work” happening on campus is available to all students.
The next chief academic officer has not yet been announced, but Leslie says that whoever holds the position must “value the importance of higher education” and understand the “importance of faculty innovation and creativity.”
Although each college administrator sets his or her own agenda to some extent, Leslie says the person who follows him should be willing to work 60 to 80 hours per week when needed in order to uphold the college’s academic standards.
Leslie was first attracted to Greensboro College because its small size and focus on liberal arts reminded him of his own undergraduate experience. He began as an assistant professor of sociology and was then promoted to associate professor and full professor.
He never planned on moving into administrative positions, but he was asked to be the dean of faculty when the president at the time learned of his leadership positions in sociology honor societies. After declining twice, Leslie agreed to become dean on an interim basis but then stayed on as dean for several years before being promoted to vice president of academic affairs and then senior vice president chief academic officer.
However, Leslie never let his love for teaching fade, and he considers his best work to be the classes he led in the sociology department, the honors department and the Greensboro College seminars.
After 31 years at Greensboro College, and 21 of those years spent in higher administration, Leslie decided to retire for both professional and personal reasons. Leslie sees his retirement as an opportunity for others to make new contributions to academic life at Greensboro College and to make way for new ideas. He also wishes to spend more time with his 4-year-old granddaughter whom he adores.
“I don’t mind being a soccer grandpa,” said Leslie.
In addition to spending time with his family, Dr. Leslie plans to teach on occasion and to take temporary appointments in higher administration after taking three months off to “sort out” his life, read and complete some unfinished research projects.
Never one to keep the spotlight on him-self, Leslie wanted to share this parting message with the students of Greensboro College: “Students need to know that they need to take advantage of this opportunity and seize the moment. Engage yourself deeply and express your passions.”
by Timothy Crowell