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Interim Provost Michael Wachter will return to teaching Law and Economics in the Law School. The job was only supposed to be temporary, but for outgoing Interim Provost Michael Wachter, leaving is not any less bittersweet. Concurrently with yesterday's announcement that Neurology and Neuroscience Department Chairperson Robert Barchi would succeed long-since-departed former Provost Stanley Chodorow on a permanent basis, Wachter said that he will step down from his current post at the end of the year to return to teaching and research as a member of the Law School faculty. Wachter, a noted scholar in the legal sub-field of law and economics, will also return to full-time work at an institute in the Law School he currently co-directs in accordance with a pledge he made 3 1/2 years ago when he became a deputy provost in Chodorow's office. "When I first took this job with Stan, I told him that I would only do this job for three years," he said. "My intention was always to go back to the Institute for Law and Economics." Wachter was forced to stay in his College Hall office a little longer than expected when Chodorow -- then about to lose his fourth bid for a university presidency in just more than a year's time -- announced his resignation on October 31, 1997, effective the end of last year. Wachter had already spent 2 1/2 years as deputy provost, but agreed to to replace Chodorow on an interim basis until a permanent replacement was found. Though his position in the University hierarchy was ephemeral, Wachter continued a number of Chodorow's initiatives during his more than 11 months in office to date and spearheaded some new projects. Under Wachter's watch, the University's college house system went into effect, distributed learning programs in Wharton executive education and pre-college programs were established and work progressed on the Perelman Quadrangle construction project. "Dr. Wachter had a tremendous impact on bringing the final college house system to fruition," University President Judith Rodin said. "Much of its successful launching is attributable to his leadership and careful stewardship." Outgoing Law School Dean Colin Diver, who announced in October that he will step down next summer to return to the Law faculty, said he was pleased with Wachter's decision to return to the classroom. "I'm delighted, naturally," he said. "He's been extremely important to the school." While Rodin noted the "institutional" value of having two former Penn provosts on the faculty -- Education Professor Marvin Lazerson served as provost from 1992 to 1993 -- Wachter did not rule out a return to administration. "At some point I may want to go back to university administration," he said, adding that he hoped it would be at Penn. "But after this 3 1/2 year stint I want to go back to academics." But whatever hat he's wearing, Wachter -- whose wife Susan chairs the Wharton school's Real Estate Department -- promised not to slow down in his work. "I only know of one speed," he said. "Full speed."

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