Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Sarrs to leave after semester

One of the University of Wisconsin's most notable faculty couples, Akua and Papa Sarr, will be leaving the university at the end of the semester to continue their careers at Boston College.

After a combined 23 years of experience at the university, the pair will take their expertise out east to be closer to family. Akua has spent eight years at UW and is currently assistant dean in the College of Letters and Science. Papa spent 15 years with the university, most recently as director of International Student Services.

At BC, Akua will be serving as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and Papa will teach French.


While both said the move to BC is an incredible opportunity, they also said they will miss the people and atmosphere at the university that first brought them together.

"I've had a wonderful experience at UW," Akua said.

Akua and Papa met as graduate students who both shared a passion for West African literature.

"I'll ditto that," Papa said. "It's been wonderful."

After graduating from the university, the two traveled to West Africa and later New Hampshire to conduct research for two years before returning to Madison and working at UW.

"We were both students and we met at a lecture right here on campus," Akua said. "We left for two years, then we got positions here and that brought us back … Madison was really like home for us."

Akua said leaving UW is "bittersweet," but as a New York City native, her desire to be closer to family and the opportunity to serve as associate dean in BC's College of Arts and Sciences made the decision worthwhile.

Both said recent scandals, ranging from Paul Barrows' improper use of sick leave to the UW system's employment of several felons, played no part in their decision to leave.

"That's definitely not a reason we are leaving," Papa said. "That's unfortunate, but that's not a reason."

Akua said seeing Barrows endure the highly publicized controversy has been hard for both her and Papa.

"Paul Barrows has been a friend," she said. "He's been a mentor to both of us."

The Sarrs added moving to BC is an indisputable opportunity for both of them.

"Our colleagues and friends … would rather have us stay here," Papa said. "But it's one of those offers you can't refuse."

Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs Darrell Bazzell, who works closely with Akua, said he would rather have both Sarrs stay.

"On a personal level, I'm happy for her," Bazzell said. "But at the same time, it is a significant loss to our campus community."

Bazzell added Akua has been an incredible asset to the university during her tenure at UW.

"She's done a tremendous job," he said. "She worked extremely well with students and was a real leader … her presence will be missed."

Sandra Arfa, director of UW's English as a Second Language program, also said she would rather see both stay, and while she worked more closely with Papa, added she enjoyed getting to know both Sarrs.

"They're a wonderful couple and a great loss to this campus, if you ask me," she said.

Arfa added Papa always knows how to best handle any situation in a sensible manner.

"I call him with problems and questions and he always solves them at once," she said. "He's absolutely wonderful."

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