The Provost Academical

Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of CLAS.

Jeremy Teitelbaum, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a guest contributor to UConn Today. His posts appear on Mondays. For his previous posts, click here.

I composed this pastiche of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “I am the very model of a modern major general” in honor of Peter J. Nicholls, UConn’s provost, who will step down from his position on June 30, and join the faculty of the Neag School of Education. Peter has been a model provost during his years at UConn, and it’s been a pleasure working for him. Plus, he and I share some other interests.

The song was only one of the many tributes that Peter received at his retirement party on May 10. The lead was sung by Charles Eaton III, and the supporting parts were sung by Spencer Hamlin and Colin Reinhardt, all of UConn’s School of Fine Arts.


The Provost Academical

I am the very model of a provost academical,
I’ve policies, priorities, and metrics rather technical
I run the schools and colleges and keep the deans respectable
From Nursing, Law, and Pharmacy to Art and Science Liberal,

I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

I’m very good at teaching freshmen all about the calendar,
I’ve traveled ’round the world to help make UConn more spectacular,
In short with my priorities and metrics rather technical,
I am the very model of a provost academical.

I know our mythic history, of Lobo, Moore, and Taurasi,
I follow all the games with very passionate intensity,
I wear the UConn colors in East Hartford each Fall Saturday,
and dream of cricket games and wish I had a nice hot cup of tea.

I do my best to carry out the orders  of our presidents,
Phil Austin, then old what’s his name, then Austin and now Susan Herbst
I try to keep them happy and to satisfy requirements,
While striving to make sure that UConn doesn’t go and jump the tracks,

And now we are top 20 in the US News and World Report,
And I am stepping down in case some change might make us come up short;
You see, with my priorities and metrics rather technical
I am the very model of a provost academical.

I read a million emails and I sign a million documents,
I tell a million people “no” and very rarely tell them “yes,”
I keep my cool in dealing with all manner of unpleasantness,
Like personnel, and politics, the country’s banks in near-collapse,

I take the blame without complaint for things that cause unhappiness,
And pass the credit I deserve for six long years of great progress.
And now I’m going back to be a member of the faculty,
Where I can pass along the things I’ve learned administratively.

And if I see the higher-ups are acting irresponsibly,
You’ll find me as a candidate for member of the SEC,
But still with my priorities and metrics rather technical,
I am the very model of a provost academical.

Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Words by W.S. Gilbert and Jeremy Teitelbaum