Change coming in UAMS Med School dean

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UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn announced to staff in a memo yesterday evening that Dr. Rick Smith would be stepping down as dean of the College of Medicine at the end of 2014 and help the new dean, who'll be chosen in a national search, in the first three months of 2015.

Rahn's memo said Smith became dean in 2013 after Debra Fiser resigned for a "transitional period" rather than a long-term appointment. 

… He agreed instead to guide the College of Medicine during a transitional period, taking it in a new direction and to a point where it would be ready for new leadership. We have been in a planning phase for restructuring the relationship between the College of Medicine, UAMS clinical programs and Arkansas Children’s Hospital for several months. We are now entering an implementation phase which will continue for a number of years. Last week, Rick and I agreed that although there is no good time, we are now at a point that we can begin the search for a new Dean to serve for the long term. Rick has indicated his desire to step down as Dean at the end of this calendar year and then assist in a part-time capacity with the transition to a new Dean through March of 2015. After that he plans to take some well-deserved time off with his wife, Susan, and explore what they will do with the next chapter of their lives. Whatever the future holds, Rick has assured me that he will continue to be a supporter and resource for UAMS.

No details were given on the restructured relationships.

No job at UAMS is easy these days. The College of Medicine has had to pare its budget because of UAMS' financial pressure. Later, it offered early retirement incentives to some 80 faculty members to reduce costs further.

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