From the Dean's Desk
December 14, 2012
Colleagues and Friends:
As the Fall semester draws to a close, I am reminded of why I love working at a University. There is a beautiful rhythm to the semester, with peaks and valleys of work and emotional energy. My wish for you is that you take time to enjoy the break and return refreshed and renewed to continue our important work.
Part of the rhythm of university life is change, and we’ve clearly seen plenty of this of late. You probably know that my assistant, Shantel Nilson, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Josephine just after Thanksgiving and will be on maternity leave until March. This month, Dr. Don Barrett in the Department of Sociology will retire. Those who know Don understand that he will likely not spend his days lounging around the house. Social gerontologists call this “retiring into unretirement” and I wish Don well in his new career. We also have a new Chancellor of the CSU, Dr. Timothy White, who begins his tenure at the end of December. And, as you all likely know, our Provost will be leaving us in January to become President of Texas A&M University-Texarkana. This is a terrific opportunity for her, though indeed it will be a loss for our university. The President will soon appoint an Interim Provost after consulting with Academic Affairs leadership, which includes the Senate Chair. While we are undergoing significant changes in CSU and AA leadership, let me assure you all that CHABSS will continue to forge ahead with our plans as the campus searches for a new Provost.
One of my major goals this year was to launch our Career Readiness Initiative. The Initiative will be an important avenue for making CHABSS a 21st Century liberal arts college; it more deliberately and explicitly articulates the importance of our academic programs to our students’ post-graduate careers and -- given that more than 80% of our graduates remain in the region -- to our community. I appointed Dr. Katherine Brown as Faculty Director of the Initiative last month, and she has already hit the ground running. In the spring, Dr. Brown will engage in direct conversations with our academic departments, and I encourage you to speak with her and share your ideas when the opportunity presents itself.
We have also made significant progress in our fundraising efforts. One of my major tasks on this front was to assemble a group of individuals, primarily from the community, who can advocate for the College externally and help us with our advancement efforts. Working closely with our development liaison, Greg Anglea, I have assembled a CHABSS Dean’s Council, which met for the first time earlier this month. The Council consists of CHABSS alumni (Robert Schmidt, LTWR; Danielle Aeiling, COMM), a faculty member (Carmen Nava, HIST), and other individuals from the community (Rick Hein, Alma Sisco-Smith, Carl Fredericks, Carl Vonderau) who are committed to helping us find support for our programs, students, faculty, and staff. Our near term goals are to increase the size of the Council and to introduce them to members of our CHABSS community. Ultimately, the Dean’s Council will play a significant role in helping to generate philanthropic support and community connections for the College’s programs.
Finally, our second CHABSS Holiday Party was a huge success. We had over 80 faculty/staff/partners at our home to share some food and beverage, great conversation, and quite a lengthy and entertaining jam session. From what I can tell, this party gets better every year! Thanks to all of you who attended this great event.
My best wishes to you and your families for a happy holiday season and a fruitful and healthy new year.
Dean, College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences