University names five (three newcomers and two current TCU deans) of the
seven who will lead its new colleges
College of Science and Engineering
Born Feb. 15, 1941, in Terrel; he and his wife of 27 years, Sally,
are both Texas Tech alumni but actually met on the campus during
McCracken’s first year. They have one grown daughter, Donna Blackburn,
and a 3-year-old grandson, Carson.
PhD, Indiana University, 1969
MS, Texas Tech University, 1965
BS, Texas Tech University, 1963
Established Dept. of Engineering in 1994; the fledgling program
has since grown to 100 majors and been granted full accreditation.
Integral to the successful division of the AddRan College of Arts
and Sciences and the summer groundbreaking of the William E. and
Jean Jones Tucker Technology Center
ago on a cool fall day, a young University of Wisconsin research professor
named Mike McCracken bumped into a student.It
would change his life.
had two research grants, several working projects, and handful of grad
students in his employ—a departure from the former high school jock and
Texas Tech graduate who had planned on more of a teaching career.
"I was charging
right up the hill to my office, and I bumped into a student," the 59-year-old
McCracken recalled. "I said excuse me and continued on, and then I stopped.
"I realized that I didn't see the students anymore. I hadn't had an undergraduate
in my office all semester. I didn't have time for them. I had been told
I didn't have time for them."
called TCU a few moments later -- to inquire about a job he had turned
down the previous spring. It was still available.
later, much has changed for McCracken. From assistant professor to professor
to chair and, for the last decade, Dean of AddRan College of Arts and
a certain irony to my career path," he said. "When I joined the biology
department, [Provost] Bill Koehler had been on the chemistry faculty for
two or three years. We had the same jaded view of college administrators.
As a chair, I was glad I didn't have to deal with me as a faculty member,
and as a dean, I was glad I didn't have to deal with me as a chair. I
dare say Bill would say the same thing about himself."
though he stopped teaching years ago, students remain his focus. He has
hired more than 70 percent of the AddRan faculty working today.
question he asks during the interview process is, Can you tell me about
yourself as a teacher?
to advise problematic students; a special cause of his includes football
players who return as serious students after their dream of a pro career
falls short. McCracken laughs. "And
the advantage of having me as an advisor is that if I make a mistake,
I'll just change the policy."
As dean of
the newly formed College of Science and Engineering, McCracken is excited
by the prospect of greater interaction among the sciences, mathematics
the opportunity to establish greater cohesion between disciplines that
have so much in common. We will develop more interdisciplinary activities
and more common goals so that we don't function just as individual departments
also believes in fostering the special relationship between the two colleges
that used to be AddRan College of Arts and Sciences.
"We are all
committed to the liberal arts as the core component of a broad education.
We're not suddenly creating a gulf between the two colleges. We're going
to make sure that there are plenty of bridges."