Dear Colleagues,

I’m writing to provide an update on our shared vision development process for the College.

We began last spring by reviewing information generated through the departments’ self study process and small group meetings with department chairs. Subsequently, the Associate Deans and I held many meetings with College leadership, faculty, and leadership of other academic units on campus. Collectively, the meetings revealed numerous intellectual opportunities and areas of shared interest across the College. Through a series of strategic retreats and operational meetings with department chairs, we’ve deepened the focus to three overarching areas of interest for future research and curriculum directions. The College’s grand challenge areas are intended to address real world issues, retain/energize faculty, and provide a clear direction for future and convergent innovation in research and education:

  • Global Processes, Connections, and Flows  
  • Scholarly Creativity and Exploration
  • Digital Revolution and Beyond

Department chairs nominated faculty members to be part of working groups that would expand on eight key questions within these challenge areas that were the focus of their January 2019 retreat. Subsequently, 10 working groups have been formed to contribute to a strategic direction for convergent and collaborative work across the College.

Upon review of the nominations, the CAS Associate Deans and I finalized working group membership by balancing rank, disciplines and departments. These working groups, identified here on the CAS website, have been charged with building case statements for each of our three grand challenges that:

  • Address broader societal impacts
  • Strengthen current research/scholarly directions
  • Open new opportunities for faculty and students
  • Strengthen the curriculum for all students
  • Retain and recruit excellent faculty and students
  • Garner resources
  • Provide a timeline and actionable future steps for the next 12-18 months

In addition, they have been provided with names of CAS and University stakeholders to gather additional input from those who have shown interest in these areas, including those of you nominated, but not asked to serve.

An implementation phase will follow a review of the products of the 10 working groups identifying areas of integration, potential synergies and redundancies and defining what may be rapidly achievable as well as the more challenging tasks that will be our focus for the years to follow. We will continue to keep you informed as we develop of our shared vision for the future of CAS.

With gratitude,

Nicole Sampson
Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry