On July 1, 2013, the schools of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Natural and Behavioral Sciences officially merged to form the School of Arts and Sciences. Your reorganized Dean’s Office staff members include Associate Dean Kim Hannula, Associate Dean Pete McCormick, Interim Assistant Dean Sandy Gilpin, Administrative Assistant Christina Vaughan and Administrative Assistant Jennifer Guy. You can find descriptions of their specific job duties on the Job Descriptions page. Our goal with this website is to be a source of information for Department Chairs, Program Directors and faculty. For example, we have included documents such as evaluation letter templates, calendars of events for Arts and Sciences and academic affairs deadlines, and the list of the School of Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee membership. If you have a suggestion for additional resources to add to the site, please contact any of the Dean’s Office staff members.
The purpose of restructuring two academic schools into one Arts and Sciences school is to “Build Community” among the arts and sciences disciplines, which have a long history of association within liberal arts institutions. The concept of building community, that is, a group of people who function as a unit, has multiple layers. On a structural level, reorganization is fairly straightforward. We combine budgets, administrative structures and reporting lines (to name a few), and then it’s done. But building a community from formerly disparate groups is an emotional process that takes conscious effort.
So how do we start building the Arts and Sciences community of our dreams? I’ll suggest two early steps. First, we have to shed our former names of AHSS and NBS. This is not easy, as anyone who has dissolved a relationship of any kind will remember. We have to train our brains (including mine) to reference our academic unit as Arts and Sciences. The second important step in building community is to support each other in our professional goals. Accomplishing this will require that we understand each other. The best piece of advice I received as a fledgling administrator was from Dick Chait at the Harvard Institutes of Higher Education. Dick’s maxim is short, but full of meaning: “Examine your underlying assumptions.” Ask questions of your colleagues that deepen your understanding of their goals, and then provide support in a collegial way in one-on-one and more public meetings.
I am excited to be the dean of the reconstituted School of Arts and Sciences, and look forward to an exciting time of renewing our commitment to our liberal arts roots.