Message from the Dean

As the earth starts to grow green again, it strikes me how the academic cycle runs counter to that of the natural world. As we say hello to spring, we here in the college prepare to say good-bye to our graduates and to our colleagues as we disperse at the end of the semester. The (slightly!) slower pace of summer provides us with the time to look back with reflection on the past two semesters and to look forward in preparation for next year’s challenges.

Among the highlights of this year:

  • Seeing so many of our excellent faculty and staff recognized for their teaching, research, and service through college and University awards.
  • The selection of two CLA research centers, the Public Lands History Center and the Center for Literary Publishing as CSU Programs of Research and Scholarly Excellence. This distinction enhances their visibility as models of excellence on campus and externally indicates that our faculty research contributions stand toe-to-toe with that of other colleges.
  • The Middle School Outreach Ensemble was highlighted at the annual 1870 Dinner, as one of the four featured programs who “forge the path.”

Looking back in this way helps us understand where we are headed: the liberal arts as the heart of the University, pioneering new ways of learning and new approaches to issues and challenges that Colorado and our nation face.

For example,

  • We have a new research center, the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), created by Professor Stephan Weiler in his three-year role as Morgan Chair. REDI builds on Professor Weiler’s considerable experience and exercise in regional economics to understand the similarities in urban and rural economies. This is a notable example of engaged research, where we bring to bear knowledge created in our college directly to issues important to the communities we live in and serve.
  • The newly launched college initiative: The Digital Liberal Arts (DLA) Hub. Housed in the recently renovated Eddy Hall, DLA provides a physical home and defined space for faculty and students to collaborate as they explore emerging technologies and their impact on research and teaching.

As these initiatives suggest, the College of Liberal Arts is where we use our talents and skills to participate more broadly in the discussion of ideas and issues. The liberal arts help us negotiate the commotions, antagonisms, and seeming dichotomies of living in a disruptive and disrupted world.

Or, as one of our student ambassadors put it:

“The liberal arts have given me the opportunity to find myself and my place in the world. It’s helped me to be an advocate for myself and others.” – Hadeel, Junior, Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

To our traditional skill sets of intellectual development, broad knowledge, and social responsibility, we must add new skills derived from emerging technologies, new methods of analysis and integrative learning; and the demonstrated ability to use one’s knowledge in active and engaged contexts. At a time when our world seems intent on erecting barriers to communication and understanding, we build bridges and connections. Read on to see how each of our departments is accomplishing those goals.

More Stories