Former vice chancellor dies during operation
Robert Diamond, assistant vice chancellor emeritus at Syracuse University, died Dec. 14 after complications from a heart surgery in St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 77 years old.
During his 20-year stay at SU from 1978 to 1998, Diamond served as assistant vice chancellor and a research professor, founded and directed the Center for Instructional Development and the Institute for Change in Higher Education. He also helped to establish the Student Academic Support Center and was present in the restructuring of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Diamond spent his career reforming higher educational practices at SU, the SUNY College at Fredonia, the University of Miami and San Jose State University in California.
‘Bob Diamond was very creative,’ said Kenneth ‘Buzz’ Shaw, professor and chancellor emeritus at SU. ‘He saw opportunities for higher education that few saw. I had the good fortune to work with him as we developed the student centered research concept. Many of the initiatives that we took were Bob’s ideas.’
Following his retirement from SU in 1998, Diamond founded the National Academy for Academic Leadership in St. Petersburg, Fla. Shaw also served on this organization’s initial advisory committee.
The committee consisted of presidents, professors and chancellors from several universities and educational establishments from across the country.
‘Bob Diamond was a creative leader who pushed the boundaries of higher education accountability through his always insightful questioning of higher education leadership,’ said James Appleberry, president-emeritus of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, who served the National Academy for Academic Leadership with Diamond.
The Institute for Change in Higher Education at SU, under the direction of Diamond, formed the national committee which sought to improve the quality of higher education by improving and augmenting the quality of academic programs in universities across the country.
Diamond was the president for The National Academy for Academic Leadership since its conception. He also was the co-editor of The Disciplines Speak and Faculty Reward Systems for the Year 2000, works produced by the National Academy for Academic Leadership.
‘Up until the very end, Bob’s mind was engaged with the questions of how to make American higher education even stronger,’ said Leo Lambert, president of Elon University in North Carolina.
Lambert contributed to Diamond’s published work titled, ‘A Field Guide to Academic Leadership.’ All of his works dealt with higher education practices and educational reforms.
Diamond’s other major publications include ‘Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula,’ ‘Preparing for Tenure and Promotion Review’ and ‘Serving on Promotion and Tenure Committees.’
Among his many recognitions Diamond was recognized by the American Association for Higher Education in 1994 for his 25 years of ‘leadership and innovation in the reform of higher education’ and was named as an Outstanding Citizen of Syracuse University in 1998. His work with the Center for Instructional Development won the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Faculty Development to Enhance Undergraduate Learning in 1996.
Most recently, Diamond worked as an author and consultant in higher education, lecturing at universities worldwide.
‘He believed strongly in the need for institutional change, and his work at SU and his efforts at the national level reflected that belief,’ Shaw said.
Diamond grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., and graduated from Union College. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees in education from New York University.
Besides his reforms in higher education, Diamond will be remembered as a fun-loving and caring person by his colleagues. ‘He was also a decent tennis player. In the 10 years that I played with him, he never brought new tennis balls. He is the only person I know that still had white tennis balls. A great guy,’ Shaw said.
‘He was a joy to be around, possessing a sense of humor that endeared him to all,’ Appleberry said. ‘He had the ability to make others look at issues and problem solutions in new ways. He will be missed by all of us.’
Diamond is survived by his mother, Ruth Kling; his wife of 50 years, Dolores; his daughter, Harli Rozental and husband Israel; his son, H. Gordon and a grandson, Joshua.
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