This fall we welcome approximately 3,000 returning and new students to the College of Arts and Letters. Those students have chosen to study for undergraduate and graduate degrees in our diverse array of programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and in our many collaborative interdisciplinary programs.
The back-to-school season is always an exciting one for our students, faculty and staff, and me personally. I am proud of our A&L community and anticipate another stellar year. Indeed, we will need to raise the bar even higher as we begin to focus on our strategic goals – anchored in our student success and profile expansion efforts. So I encourage everyone to:
Consider the positive individual difference we can make as we, the faculty and staff, work to realize our greatest potential.
There are many ways a college conveys its core values. In an issue of Liberal Education, Jack Meacham and Jerry Gaff noted that it is important that we “do what we say and say what we do.” Our public declaration found in our college and school/department strategic goals is our guide and those declarations share some of the same key words and phrases like “excellence in scholarship, focus on student success, and innovation in the classroom.” Without a clear path forward and a positive commitment to the journey, it is unlikely that our strategic plans will emerge in practice. Our faculty places us well to continue the tradition of developing innovative opportunities for our students and producing meaningful scholarship. Moving forward together is critical to this endeavor as we shift “what has been to what could be”.
Take pause along the way to consider.
I am amazed at how quickly time passes as we move from one academic season to the next. It seems that with the new and ever changing technology that has pervaded our lives, we spend a great deal of time in gear and racing ahead at full throttle. The pace we have adopted in our modern-day lives often influences how quickly we come to some of the decisions we make on issues in our own lives and those as a faculty across the college. Yet in our endeavors in creative and scholarly research, we are committed to thoughtful consideration and a measured and deliberate tempo to produce the great body of work seen in the college. I encourage the same discipline seen in our scholarship efforts as we adapt to an ever-changing constituent need. We must be nimble and flexible, but also thoughtful and deliberate in the decisions that we will have to make in the months and years to come as we strive for relevance and the ability to sustain or increase the impact we have had for our students and the community we serve.
Let us move forward together. Welcome back!