Ralph Kuncl, a neuroscientist and member of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty since 1983, has been appointed to the new position of vice provost for undergraduate education at the university.
Kuncl, who has spent the past year working on undergraduate issues as an American Council on Education fellow, will support strategic planning work by the five Johns Hopkins schools with undergraduates, Provost Steven Knapp said.
"He will also advise the university's senior leadership on ways of improving undergraduate education and developing the unique opportunities that Johns Hopkins can provide as a large research university with a relatively small undergraduate population," Knapp said. Kuncl also will oversee preparation for the university's decennial accreditation, a process that begins this fall, Knapp said.
Kuncl, a professor of neurology and pathology and director of the Neuromuscular Laboratory, has concentrated his research and clinical work on Lou Gehrig's disease, myasthenia gravis and muscle diseases. He recognizes that it is unusual for a physician/scientist who spent nearly two decades in the School of Medicine to so completely changed focus.
"I have a sympathy for and a passion about undergraduate education or I wouldn't be here," said Kuncl, who called his own college years the "transforming experience" of his life.
During his ACE fellowship, a prestigious national training program for academic administrators, his projects at Bryn Mawr included a plan for implementing projects funded by a new campaign. He also did research on the role of liberal arts colleges as a pipeline for women into the sciences. His fellowship semester at Hopkins involved assessing how a strong and decentralized research university like Johns Hopkins might rethink undergraduate education.
Kuncl is a 1970 graduate of Occidental College and earned both his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees at the University of Chicago, in 1975 and 1977. He received a graduate certificate in the business of medicine from Johns Hopkins in 1996.
He first came to Johns Hopkins in 1980 as a fellow in neurology, joining the faculty three years later and becoming a full professor in 1996.
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