As the new Dean of the College of Arts & Letters, I share something with all the new freshmen and transfer students who arrived on campus in late August: wonder and amazement at the vibrancy of the university, along with some bewilderment as I try to find my way around campus.
One example of that vibrancy recently on vivid display was the Entre Tinta y Lucha exhibition in the college’s Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibition celebrated 45 years of Self-Help Graphics and Arts, a non-profit community-based arts organization that has been a fixture in our community for decades.
The real vibrancy of the university comes from its students, of course. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with the award-winning Forensics Team, graduate students in English and Communication Studies, ASI student representatives, and the many students who attended the Arts & Letters Town Hall on September 4. Students tell me they feel that the college is a “cohesive family” and it provides “a safe space for students to thrive and express themselves.” Soon, I’ll be convening our first-ever Dean’s Students Advisory Council, which includes students from each of the nine departments of the college.
Student Workshop: Visioning the Future of the College of Arts & Letters
Last month, I read a report on a survey of business executives and hiring managers. According to the survey, the higher education learning outcomes these two groups rate as most important include “oral communication, critical thinking, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, written communication, and the real-world application of skills and knowledge.” While these outcomes may be delivered indirectly across the whole university, they are the very subjects taught directly by the departments in the College of Arts & Letters. The faculty that deliver those learning outcomes are outstanding!
In addition to wandering around campus looking for the location of my next meeting, I’ve been doing a lot of listening since I started here on July 1. I’ve heard the College of Arts & Letters described as “student-centered,” “the creative heart of the university,” “committed to social justice,” “publicly engaged,” “interdisciplinary,” and more. All of these are among the reasons that I, like you, decided to become a Golden Eagle.
Have a great year!
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean