Dick McCarty hit the ground running. By the time his appointment as dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences was announced last week, he was already on the job.
His first meeting as dean Wednesday morning was to discuss the evolving new master plan for the Homewood campus.
He had already been serving on a key master plan committee, and related projects like a planned new classroom building, an NMR imaging facility and a renovation of Gilman Hall have been on his plate since his one-year term as interim dean in the 1997-98 academic year.
McCarty is also very familiar with most of the school's other major issues, with new initiatives in the humanities, with efforts to diversify the faculty and with fund-raising priorities, including the student recreation center and the Gilman renovations.
"I'm sure there are other people around who could have done this, but they would have had to take time to learn the position," McCarty said. "It takes at least six months to settle into the job. I've done it."
McCarty agreed to President William R. Brody's request that he step back into the dean's office after the resignation of Herbert L. Kessler. Kessler, a professor in the Department of the History of Art, left the deanship for personal and professional reasons. He will be on sabbatical until Jan. 1, 2001.
McCarty, who earned both his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Johns Hopkins and has been a senior member of the faculty since 1990, said it was important that there be a smooth transition after a decade in which Arts and Sciences has had--due to various circumstances--six leaders, including his own previous interim term.
"I have a deep love for this place," McCarty said, explaining his decision to accept the job, which he had not pursued while serving as interim dean. "The school simply can't afford another period of instability."
McCarty will hold the James Barclay Knapp Deanship, an endowed position established earlier this year by university trustee J. Barclay Knapp Jr. in honor of his father, a highly decorated major general in the U.S. Air Force.
McCarty, 61, returned to Johns Hopkins in 1990 as chairman of Biology after 24 years on the faculty of Cornell University. Since his stint as interim dean, he has been senior adviser on faculty affairs in the Dean's Office. In that role, he also has handled special projects, such as planning for new construction and renovation of academic buildings.
"Dick McCarty was a respected and very successful department chair and did a terrific job as interim dean," President Brody said. "Since then, he has been centrally involved in the Krieger School's strategic planning and its daily operations. He is an excellent choice--in fact, the natural choice--to lead the school now and to maintain and even accelerate its strong forward momentum."
McCarty said he had enjoyed working with Brody and Provost Steven Knapp when he was interim dean and was happy for the opportunity to do so again.
"One of the things that really encourages me is that they have shown a real commitment to the school," McCarty said. "And I have great respect and admiration for the associate deans. I'm looking forward to this."
McCarty was born in Baltimore, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1960 and earned his Ph.D. in biology from the university in 1964. While at Cornell, he served for four years as chairman of the Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology and, later, for two years as director of the Biotechnology Program.
The American Society of Plant Physiologists gave McCarty its Charles F. Kettering Award in 1994, calling him a "central figure" since the 1960s in advances in the understanding of photosynthesis and photosynthetic energy conversion. He has been associate editor of Plant Physiology and a member of the editorial boards of four other journals in his field.