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President's Message | Reports & Announcements


September 10, 2015

TO: AU Community
FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
SUBJECT: Former Provost Milton Greenberg


It is with great sadness that I write to note the passing of Milton Greenberg—an important colleague, former provost, interim president, and professor emeritus of government—on Thursday, August 27, 2015.

A passionate champion of high quality teaching, Provost Greenberg led the Provost’s Office from 1980 to 1993, building on an illustrious career in higher education following completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 1955. He also served as interim president from 1990 to 1991 and as professor of government in the School of Public Affairs. Following retirement from the university in 1997, Provost Greenberg maintained an active presence on campus through his many initiatives.

Professor and Center for Teaching, Research and Learning (CTRL) Executive Director Naomi Baron observed of Provost Greenberg, “Milton Greenberg cared passionately about the entire educational enterprise; training the next generation of faculty, discovering the most effective ways for faculty to teach and students to learn, and reflecting on what was right—and wrong—with contemporary higher education.” Thanks to Provost Greenberg’s vision and generosity, the university established the Greenberg Ph.D. Seminars for Effective Teaching, which have benefited hundreds of our doctoral students. In Provost Greenberg’s words, “College and university teaching represents more than expertise in a scholarly discipline. It means that you are privileged to be part of an extended community that constitutes one of the most important professions in the world.”

Provost Greenberg, along with his wife Sonia, also made possible the university’s annual award, the Milton and Sonia Greenberg Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, which recognizes faculty who have made a significant contribution to research-based analyses of teaching practices and/or curricular design. Provost Greenberg encouraged faculty to “take teaching seriously, enjoy yourself, and involve yourself in the scholarship of what you’re doing.”

As provost, Milton Greenberg was also a strong supporter of faculty research and scholarship, professional work, and artistic expression. Among other things he implemented policies designed to better balance these aspects of faculty work and the university’s mission with their instructional and service obligations.

Provost Greenberg was co-author of the American Political Dictionary, originally published in 1962, but reissued subsequently in ten revised editions over a period of forty years. A nationally recognized expert on the GI Bill, Provost Greenberg wrote The GI Bill: The Law That Changed America, which was published in 1997 and was a companion to a public television broadcast on the same topic. He frequently contributed to the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications.

Provost Greenberg was active with the American Political Science Association and the American Association of University Professors, and he chaired the National Council of Chief Academic Officers.

In addition to his passion for quality higher education, Provost Greenberg was a devoted fan of American University men’s basketball. Until his recent illness, he was a fixture at AU Eagles home games. The Greenberg Track, encircling the Reeves Field, is named in Provost Greenberg’s honor.

Provost Greenberg was known for his wry sense of humor. His wit and way with words will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with Provost Greenberg’s family and his many colleagues at this time. Information about Provost Greenberg’s memorial service will be shared as soon as it is available.

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