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AMU Academic VP Michael Dauphinais Stepping Down

dauphinais-1Ave Maria University's Vice President for Academic Affairs, Michael Dauphinais, will be stepping down from that role in July to return to the AMU faculty as an associate professor of theology, President Jim Towey announced Monday in an email.

"Few have contributed more to the creation and success of Ave Maria than Dr. Michael Dauphinais," Mr. Towey said, noting that he helped the school transition from Michigan to a temporary Naples campus and then to the permanent campus in the town of Ave Maria.

He served as Dean of Faculty beginning in 2004, was appointed interim VP of academic affairs in 2011 and then named to the position in 2012.

Dr. Dauphinais presided over the growth of the AMU curriculum from five to 30 majors, started an honors program and demonstrated "masterful handling" of the multi-year reaccreditation process for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Mr. Towey said.

"I am filled with extreme gratitude for having played a unique role in the development of Ave Maria University," Dr. Dauphinais said in an email to The Ave Herald. "When I arrived at Ave Maria College in Michigan in 2001, there were approximately 100 students, 12 full-time faculty, and five majors. As of this academic year, the University has over 1,000 students, over 60 full-time faculty, and 30 majors."

Dr. Dauphinais said he looks forward to returning to a teaching role. "As my former students will attest, I love being in the classroom and teaching theology," he said. "I welcome the opportunity to devote myself more fully to studying Sacred Scripture, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and more recent thinkers such as Blessed John Henry Newman and C. S. Lewis. I also am eager to assist in the continued development of the Francis P. Taylor Graduate Programs in Theology and the Aquinas Center at Ave Maria University."

He will be replaced as Vice President of Academic Affairs on an interim basis by Politics Professor Seana Sugrue. Mr. Towey said a committee will be formed to conduct a search for a new VP of Academic Affairs with the hope that the role will be filled on a regular basis no later than Jan. 1, 2016.

The announcement came as Ave Maria University continued to look into a number of issues that have been raised about faculty governance as well as the school's academic quality, Catholic character and student behavior.

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