Winter seems to bring a depth of reflection compensatory to the shortness of the day. Whatever activity we had in mind for this or that hour, the arrival of snow and cancelled events open the mental space for recollection. In those quieter moments, I have spent some time taking stock of the work that we have done to make 2018 an extraordinary year.
In December 2017, you affirmed the process for Concept 30 by an overwhelming majority: 76.5% approving, with a 59% response rate. The Pillars on which we are building our future are strong, and these include clear
foundations, values, and goals for our community
. Our mission: “The College of Arts & Sciences fosters a community of learners who thrive by questioning, knowing, and acting. The College prepares our students to be committed lifelong learners who challenge societal and intellectual barriers, who provide ethical leadership, and who lead sustainable and meaningful lives.” I am thankful to Eric Yellin for delivering on C30 Pillars, and to all members of the Executive Board and Planning Group for the hours
they spent assessing our shared aspirations and organizing a framework for action.
On January 2, the Dean’s Office staff held a daylong retreat to prepare for action based on C30 Pillars. The Dean’s Office staff will continue to dedicate time this spring to C30. Many next steps will require your help, others might not.
Under “Community,” I have already met with the Board of Trustees and have explained the significance of the transformation from “School of Arts & Sciences” to “College of Arts & Sciences.” This semester, I will work toward the assessment, approval, and implementation of this change and will call on you wherever necessary.
Under “Creativity,” I have proposed an “Asia/Africa” cluster of faculty appointments that will serve as a prototype to test and understand how such hires might work in the future. If approved, I expect the Chairs involved in these faculty searches—Biology, Journalism, and Political Science—to communicate both the challenges and any insights they gain.
In each of these cases, we in A&S must continue to be mindful of how our goals and initiatives resonate with such university-wide aspirations as “Academic Excellence” and creating a “Thriving and Inclusive Community.” By necessity, I will tackle harder and more costly items first; not every suggested initiative will advance, but I will continue to plan, prune, and communicate with you.
In your daily classes and activities supporting the work of A&S, I wish you the brightest semester yet!
Dean, School of Arts & Sciences