A Word From Our Deans

Dr. Carmen BurkhalterI must confess – my husband drags me to the gym at an unreasonable hour to work off any stress that may have accumulated the previous 48 hours. He’s a giver. I find the gym unpleasant when I am in a good mood and worse when I am still asleep. When I arrive at a preposterous time (5:05 a.m.) along with the 5 other crazy people in the world, there is an employee who greets us by letting us in the facility. Most of the early shift employees are college students who just leave us old people alone because they know we don’t want to be there. But on October 16th, the student begged more than a passing “mornin’” out of me.

She was in rollers and hair clips. It was homecoming and a college-town sponsors many amusing events the week of homecoming so I just assumed it was related to this seasonal experience. I made reference to her hair contraption and asked her what special adventures she was participating in for homecoming. She smiled big and she indicated that she was not dressing up for homecoming festivities, rather she had a Geography Department conference she was participating in and she worked until 7:15 that morning and wanted to get to the conference immediately after work.

Remember, it was 5:05 a.m. so it took me a few minutes to process what I heard. When I did, I was humbled. I realized that this student had a deep appreciation and respect for the education she was receiving. She was deliberate in her thought on how to represent her family, her department, college, and her University. I realized that beyond a family influence, this type of work ethic, service, and respect for the discipline only comes from a culture of excellence and gratitude created by outstanding faculty, staff and alumni.

I cannot thank our faculty, staff, and alumni enough for all they do to leave a legacy of intelligence and integrity for our students. And… I want to thank that student for being brave enough to wear a hair contraption that got my mind moving that morning.

Dr. Chris MaynardThe College of Arts and Sciences has been very active over the last year in looking at ways to expand and improve our programmatic offerings to our students. New undergraduate degree programs in Theatre, Spanish, French, and German will take already successful concentrations and transform them into stand-alone degree options with more focused course offerings. New undergraduate degrees in Geographic Information Science (GIS), Earth Systems Sustainability, and Engineering Technology will expand the College’s STEM offerings. The College has also been working to expand graduate offerings.  A graduate program in Public History has already been approved, and a graduate program in Professional Writing is currently under review.

In addition to new degree programs, the College has expanded choices available to students with a new option in Geophysics; new minors in Religious Studies, Earth Systems Sustainability, Human Computer Interaction and User Experience (HCI/UX), and Crime Scene Investigation; and certificate options in Professional Writing, Applied Behavior Analysis, HCI/UX, Global Studies, U.S.-Japanese Studies, and Child Welfare Practice.

The College will continue to look for ways to expand programs available to our students, so we can help ignite creative and critical thinking with Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Humanities, and Math (STEAM).