Dear College Community,
The beginning of a new year is upon us, one filled with plans, potential and excitement. I am thrilled to see all of our students, faculty and staff preparing for a new chapter in their academic lives.
As you settle in to new classes, new routines and meeting new people, I want to let you know that the College is here to support you in all of your pursuits as students, educators, and scholars. We will help achieve this through the launch of our new strategic plan. This plan will guide how we will uphold our three main priorities for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences:
- Increase student success through innovative curriculum, teaching, advising and hands-on learning opportunities
- Support research infrastructure and scholarly impact
- Promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for working and learning across the College
We will continue to look for ways to offer innovative curricular options, such as the winter mini-session we offered last year, as well as enhanced efforts in advising and mentoring. Whether you want to get ahead or need some help staying on track, we are building programs that will help you meet your academic goals.
We are also committed to encouraging research discovery, whether you are a first-year student or an established scholar. We have named two new associate deans for research who will be focused on developing opportunities that will enhance research activity in the College, and this will include student involvement in these pursuits.
The two priorities above cannot succeed, however, if we do not build and sustain a working and learning environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. In her remarks at convocation, Vice Provost of Diversity and Equity Jennifer Hamer underscored how much the success of KU depends upon upholding these values. As the events in Charlottesville showed us, these values are not universally embraced in our nation. Yet, there is reason to see hope in the response nationwide to shameful acts perpetrated by white supremacists. We will work closely with the Chancellor and Provost to continue to respond quickly and consistently to events on campus and more broadly to those that threaten our principles as a diverse, equitable and inclusive institution, just as you saw in the university’s responses to Charlottesville.
There are areas where we face challenges, which include our transition as a College and campus to the new allowance of concealed carry on campus. We understand the anxiety and uncertainty that surrounds this change. We are listening to your feedback and are doing all that we can to best promote a safe, challenging and supportive environment where all can thrive. We are always open to your feedback and we will do all we can to respond when you feel we are not living up to our promise.
Over the summer, the College adopted a new mission statement, in which we proclaim ourselves the “heart of KU.” In the Dean’s Office, we take our mission seriously as advocates for the needs of KU’s largest population of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Welcome back and good luck in all you do this year!
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences