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2017 Gallery Of Excellence

posted Oct 17, 2017, 9:42 AM by Ellen Miller

Please see the following message from the Office of Equity and Diversity regarding this year's annual Gallery of Excellence. OED has requested that applications for participation in the gallery be routed through the Dean's Office. Those CLA faculty who are selected as presenters will be asked to fill out and submit a google form for the gallery. If you are interested in being considered please contact Katie Louis at loui0032@umn.edu.

Dean's Spring Reception 2017 Recap

posted May 3, 2017, 12:38 PM by Colleen Ware   [ updated Jul 10, 2017, 11:54 AM ]

The Dean’s Spring Reception was hosted on Tuesday, April 25 in the Lindahl Founders Room at Northrop Memorial Auditorium. This annual event is held to celebrate faculty retiring from the College of Liberal Arts. 

The program began with Dean John Coleman giving an update on the faculty research currently being done in the College. Kathleen Mckiernan, an economics PhD student spoke on the value of mentorship in her life. Donna Peterson, president of the University of Minnesota Retirees Association as well as Professor Emeritus John Adams, board member of the University of Minnesota Retirees Association, greeted and congratulated the retirees on their many accomplishments. 

We recognized the following recently faculty for their contributions to the College of Liberal Arts: 

Welcome to Our New Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities

posted Apr 26, 2017, 10:16 AM by Colleen Ware   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 10:34 AM ]

Please join me in welcoming Professor Jane Blocker as CLA’s associate dean for arts & humanities, effective August 1 and through the 2019-20 academic year.

Professor Blocker (PhD 1994, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is Professor of Art History. A specialist in US and European art produced from the mid-1960s to the present day, her research has focused primarily on the problem of the contemporary for history. She is concerned with the means by which art history comes to be written and has studied its objects, biases, privileges, ethics, and methods through the lenses of feminism and queer theory. Her work has examined performance art, new media, and film as especially challenging for traditional art historical methodologies. She is the author of four books and numerous articles and essays.

Jane served for six years as Director of Graduate Studies and is currently Chair of the Department of Art History. She has served on the Women’s Faculty Cabinet and is the vice chair of the Council of Chairs.

The associate dean for arts and humanities (AD-AH) is a member of the CLA administrative leadership team and works collaboratively with the dean, the other associate deans, and the directors of advancement, fiscal administration, human resources, and technology and innovation services offices in CLA. The AD-AH also works collaboratively with chairs and directors of Arts and Humanities units, the Office of the Provost, the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, associate deans from other colleges, and other relevant university offices. The AD-AH plays a lead role in working to strengthen the arts and humanities and build the environment to conduct first-rate research and creative work, teaching, and engagement.

I am delighted that the College will benefit from Professor Blocker’s experience and expertise in this critical role. Jane will build on the strong foundation and pioneering work in the arts & humanities established by Associate Dean Ana Paula Ferreira, and I sincerely thank Ana Paula for her leadership and support during a period of administrative transition while serving as associate dean. Ana Paula served as the associate dean for faculty in 2014-15, and served as the associate dean for arts and humanities for the subsequent two years. At the end of 2014-15 she agreed to extend her term for one year, and at the end of 2015-16 she agreed to extend her term for one year again. I am profoundly grateful that she agreed to do so.

Professor Blocker’s creative and inventive thinking and experience will play a central role in advancing the CLA Roadmap goal of relentlessly pursuing research and creative excellence, and she has likewise demonstrated accomplishment in and commitment to the Roadmap goals of promoting student readiness, diversity and inclusion, and engagement. I invite you to join me in thanking Jane for taking on this service on behalf of the College.

I thank the members of the search committee for their dedicated work:

Kathryn Reyerson, Chair (history)

Timothy Brennan (cultural studies & comparative literature)

Michelle Hamilton (Spanish & Portuguese)

Kathryn Louis (chief of staff)

Kathy Romey (music)

John Watkins (English)

David Wilkins (American Indian studies)

Welcome to Our New Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

posted Apr 21, 2017, 6:59 AM by Colleen Ware   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 10:25 AM ]

Please join me in welcoming Professor Ascan Koerner as CLA’s associate dean for undergraduate education, effective Monday, August 14 and through the 2019-20 academic year. 

Professor Koerner (PhD '98, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and holds adjunct appointments in the Department of Family Social Science and the interpersonal relationships research minor program. Ascan is widely regarded for his research on family communication and particular the development and refinement of family communication patterns theory. This theory articulates how basic patterns of sense making in families have profound effects not only on how families habitually communicate, but also on outcomes as diverse as child adjustment, family conflict, and parenting, among others. Secondary research interests include evolutionary psychology and interpersonal influence. 

Ascan brings several years of administrative experience to the position as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education. He has served for 13 years on the University IRB for Social and Behavioral Research and as the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Communication Studies since 2012. Starting in August of 2015, Ascan has been the faculty director of CLA’s Career Readiness Initiative and has helped coordinate the efforts of faculty and the staff of the Office of Undergraduate Education. 

The associate dean for undergraduate education is a member of the CLA administrative leadership team and works collaboratively with the dean, the other associate deans, and the directors of CLA advancement, fiscal administration, human resources, and technology and innovation services offices in CLA. The AD-UGE also works collaboratively with the directors of undergraduate studies across the college, undergraduate associate deans in other colleges, the vice provost for undergraduate education, and the director of admissions. 

I am delighted that the College will benefit from Professor Koerner’s experience and expertise in this critical role. Ascan will build on the strong foundation and outstanding work in undergraduate education established by Associate Dean Gary Oehlert, and I thank Gary for his tireless service to the College. 

Professor Koerner’s creative and inventive thinking and experience will play a central role in advancing the CLA Roadmap goal of promoting student career readiness and developing and promoting curricular innovations that reflect new knowledge, new ways of learning, interdisciplinary connections, and new areas of interest to our students and our communities. He has likewise demonstrated deep commitment to the Roadmap goals of relentlessly pursuing research and creative excellence, diversity and inclusion, and engagement. I invite you to join me in thanking Ascan for taking on this service on behalf of the College.

I was remiss in neglecting to thank the search committee when this announcement of Professor Ascan Koerner as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education was originally sent. Many thanks to the members of the search committee, which included:

Jonathan GeWirtz, chair (psychology)
Matthew Lefebvre (theatre arts & dance)
Keith Mayes (African American & African studies)
Susan Noakes (French & Italian)
Les Opatz (undergraduate education)
Wendy Rahn (political science)
Ann Waltner (history)
Michael Wilson (anthropology)

Make CLA Voices Heard on U-wide LE Requirements

posted Feb 21, 2017, 7:16 PM by Colleen Ware   [ updated Feb 22, 2017, 9:24 AM ]

As the University begins to review and possibly redesign these requirements, it is essential that CLA voices be heard in this review process from the outset. Over 40 CLA faculty and staff participated in the first forum on January 30. Thanks to all who participated.

The second and third forums, as described below, are on Thursday, February 23 and Monday, March 6. 

In addition to participating in these forums, and especially if you are unable to attend, share your thoughts with John by email about the current LE requirements as well as a future desired arrangement, or the principles and factors that should be taken into account in creating that future arrangement.
Our approach in CLA for the past two and a half years has been that we will advocate—not apologize—for the liberal arts, and that we will be on offense and not defense. Participating in these forums is one way to provide our constructive perspectives to the process.

Every day, in a myriad of ways, CLA faculty and staff create an exceptional educational environment that transforms our students’ lives. All of you play a role in making this happen. Thank you. 

Thursday, February 23
9:30 - 11:00am
Saint Paul Student Center, North Star Ballroom

Monday, March 6
4:30 - 6:30pm
Coffman Memorial Union, Great Hall

Community Fund Drive 2016 Results as of 10.18.2016

posted Oct 19, 2016, 8:55 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Oct 19, 2016, 8:56 AM ]

We're half way through the 2016 Community Fund Drive and haven't yet met our goal of participation for the college. The University at large is striving for 30 percent participation, but we hope to lead by example with higher engagement.

To help gauge where your unit currently stands in both participation and donations, we've created a Google Sheet with the latest numbers.

Seeking Nominations for Associate Deans

posted Oct 7, 2016, 11:39 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Oct 7, 2016, 11:39 AM ]

Dean John Coleman welcomes applications and nominations for the positions of associate dean for arts & humanities and associate dean for undergraduate education. Full information is contained within the following position descriptions. Applications and nominations will be accepted until these positions are filled and the information will remain on this page until the positions are filled. 

Dean's Memo - October 2016

posted Oct 7, 2016, 11:36 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Oct 7, 2016, 11:36 AM ]

The leaves are turning maroon and gold, which goes to show that even nature prefers Gophers. Laura and I very much enjoyed our first trip to the North Shore last month, though sadly we did not get to Grand Marais in time for the doughnuts. Next time.

Items in this month’s memo:

  • Remarks to the Regents on the vital role of the liberal arts

  • 2016 State of the College address now online

  • Associate Deans for Arts & Humanities and Undergraduate Education searches

  • Career Readiness Initiative rollout

  • CLA presence in funded Grand Challenges Research projects

  • Summer tuition sharing initiative results

  • Calculator of gender bias in recommendation letters

  • Wishes for CLA from the AIM

  • Did I mention my blog?

  • Of Mice and Men, of Data and Gear

  • Our mission and values

  • Wrapping up a season

Remarks to the Regents on the vital role of the liberal arts

In September, along with with Provost Karen Hanson and Chemistry Professor and Chair of the Council on Liberal Education Ken Leopold, I participated in a panel before a Board of Regents committee on the value of liberal education. In my remarks, I discussed how the liberal arts lead to students’ future success as well as how our research, creative work, and education contribute to healthy and vibrant societies. As I have said repeatedly over the past two years, we should all be in a habit of advocating for, and not apologizing for, the liberal arts. Please have a read.

2016 State of the College address now online

Thank you to those who turned out for my State of the College address. To those unable to make it, or who were waiting for the major motion picture, you are in luck. We have now posted online the text and the video of my remarks. In my address I discussed the important work we do in the liberal arts and highlighted our CLA Roadmap achievements as well as some plans for the upcoming year. These plans include expanded research funding and exploration of ways to improve travel funding, the launch of our Career Readiness Initiative, the inauguration of our diversity and inclusion committee, and continuing work on the Minnesota Humanities Engagement Hub, among others. I also discuss the broad framework of our Capital Campaign, which is currently in the quiet phase and will become public in fall 2017. Don’t be the only person on your block who hasn’t read or watched SOTC16. That’d be embarrassing.

Associate Deans for Arts & Humanities and Undergraduate Education searches

We are beginning searches for the position of Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. Ana Paula Ferreira has served with tremendous dedication, determination, and thoughtfulness as Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities the past two years, helping to organize fruitful conversations and action within the corridor and across the college, and served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the previous year. Gary Oehlert has served the past two and a half years as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and in previous years as the Associate Dean for Planning and the Associate Dean for Faculty. He has done a wonderful job implementing the reorganization of the Office of Undergraduate Education to better integrate the academic and student services functions of the office, and has been a leader in our career readiness transformation.

I will be appointing search committees shortly and you will receive email from me when the committees have been assembled. In the meantime, you can view the position descriptions on our intranet. These are crucially important leadership positions for the College. I urge faculty to consider applying or to nominate colleagues you believe would be strong candidates for these positions.

Career Readiness Initiative rollout

You’ll be hearing more about the Career Readiness Initiative from our Office of Undergraduate Education in the near future. CRI is the latest version of something we discussed as “career bundles” earlier on. CRI engages students in a four-year conversation about career readiness. It is framed around core career capabilities or competencies most commonly sought by private, public, and nonprofit employers: Analytical & Critical Thinking; Applied Problem Solving; Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making; Innovation & Creativity; Oral & Written Communication; Teamwork & Leadership; Engaging Diversity; Active Citizenship & Community Engagement; Digital Literacy; and Career Management.

CRI enables students to relate competencies to their interests and goals; reflect, assess and build their own competencies through curricular and co-curricular activities; and articulate their capabilities and translate them to an employer's context. One of the virtues of CRI is that it puts students in a position of ownership to ensure that they are receiving and developing the many qualities we attribute to a liberal arts education. Components of Pathways will include developmental curriculum (e.g., Readiness embedded in the First Year Experience course,  a career management course for second-year students, a career planning course for seniors), materials/media (e.g., a career readiness guidebook), online systems (for reflection and self-assessment on competencies as well as recommendations for future courses or co-curricular activities), increased opportunities for alumni engagement through mentoring, Strong Interest Inventory for all freshmen, and professional development for career counselors and advisors.

CRI programming is being piloted and rolled out beginning with the freshmen entering in Fall 2016. I very much appreciate the many hours of hard work that has gone into developing CRI from many individuals and offices, including a large steering committee that has developed and pushed forward the many elements of the initiative. I’d like to acknowledge Ascan Koerner, the Faculty Director of the Career Readiness Initiative; Judy Anderson, the Career Readiness Initiative Coordinator; and Gary Oehlert, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, for their leadership on this project. With CRI and our Career Services Initiative and Transfer Student Initiative, we are building a field-leading program for our students.

CLA presence in funded Grand Challenges Research projects

Last week you heard from Provost Hanson about the results of the first round of funding for Grand Challenges research projects. In our CLA Roadmap, we committed ourselves to CLA being an active participant and leader in the Grand Challenges efforts. All along the way, CLA faculty have participated at a high level. Of the collaborative work group projects funded (these were submissions by the work groups established around each GC), CLA had 10 faculty involved. Highest was CFANS at 15. The next in line after CLA was CSE at 7. For the exploratory research projects funded (these were submissions by groups of faculty), CLA had 24 faculty involved. Highest was the Medical School at 27. Next in line after CLA was CFANS with 17. With regard to dollars, of the $3.6 million awarded, CLA faculty are involved in projects totaling $1.47 million of funding. The Grand Challenges projects better represents some of our research and creative traditions than others, but overall this is a strong showing and provides the kind of CLA participation and leadership we were hoping for. Going forward, we will need to work collaboratively and strategically  to ensure that additional funding opportunities reflect our varied research traditions. Substantively, these results matter because they importantly bring liberal arts perspectives and methodologies to the questions animating the Grand Challenges.

Summer tuition sharing initiative results

The College introduced a Summer Session Tuition Sharing Initiative in the summer of 2016. The initiative offered the opportunity for departments to share incremental summer tuition growth with the College. Enhanced summer enrollments benefits students by keeping them on track for graduation or allowing time to explore new areas of interest.  Departments benefit by receiving discretionary income that can be directed to key priorities. For summer 2016, the following departments exceeded their summer baseline and will be recipients of tuition revenue sharing: Asian Languages and Literatures; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; German, Scandinavian, and Dutch; History; Philosophy; Psychology; and Theatre Arts and Dance. Going forward I hope we will add more departments to this list.

Success in summer involves course offerings that interest students, advertising, and recognizing student needs. Regarding the latter, online options are critically important. Students who are not in the Twin Cities during the summer, or who are involved with jobs or internships or other responsibilities, benefit from the flexibility of online instruction. Students have a number of online options at other universities such as Arizona State and Penn State among many others, but I suspect they’d prefer to take course right here at their home institution if they could. Our summer credit hours have been declining for a decade or so now, and the overall credit hour total this summer dropped yet again. Summer revenue is important for the college budget and my hope is we are able to provide departments with more ability to invest in their key priorities.

Calculator of gender bias in recommendation letters

Do your letters of recommendation show signs of gender bias? Some research suggests that the characteristics and qualities of candidates that are emphasized may vary across letters written for men and those written for women. Give this calculator a spin to see how your letters fare. Compare your letters written for men to those written for women. Is the ratio of male-associated words to female-associated words, as defined by the tool, about the same across the letters? The calculator doesn’t pretend to be a perfect tool, but it can help you be more self-aware of subtle or not-so-subtle differences in your letters. If you are assuming you have no need to check your letters, why not check and confirm your assumption?

Letters, both when we write them and when we read them, are but one way in which we all need to be mindful of potential implicit gender bias in our work. What is the gender representation on our syllabi, on panels we create or speakers we invite, in our citations, in our candidate pools, in service? These are just a few of the areas to which we all need to be attentive with regard to potential bias and omission. Being attentive does not mean there is some predefined correct number or percentage in these areas but it does mean being self reflective about our choices. It’s important to be mindful of these issues beyond gender as well. And although these examples point to matters facing faculty, similar issues affect staff and students.

Wishes for CLA from AIM

In April, I attended the Administrative Insights Meeting, which brings together our terrific staff from across the college to discuss a variety of issues. As I was wrapping up, I received a nice surprise: a stack of sealed envelopes, each containing up to three wishes for CLA. Improved communication between offices, opportunities for training and professional development, and greater recognition and chances to come together as a community were among the issues cited. As part of our quest to be a destination college, I stated in the State of the College address that “we want our staff to see this as a place where they can be full partners in achieving our mission.” Take a look at the list to get a sense of what is on the mind of our staff and let me know what stands out for you. The list provides a great way to identify and highlight some areas for action in CLA both at the unit and college level.

Did I mention my blog?

Yes, yes I did. You may have noticed a couple of links to specific posts on my blog. You can get to the blog here. I encourage you to take a look around. You can also find me on Twitter if you are so inclined. At the bottom of this memo you will also see links to our college-level Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube sites. Check out our YouTube videos. There’s a lot of great material here.

Of Mice and Men, of Data and Gear

Well, of data and gear at least. You want some basic CLA descriptive data? Try Headlights. You want some CLA gear? Try the new CLA Spirit Store.

Our mission and values

I close the business portion of this month’s memo with a reminder of our mission and values. What are the values of the College of Liberal Arts? They appear in the CLA Constitution, which was revised during the 2014-15 academic year. The Preamble to the Constitution reads as follows:

The College of Liberal Arts of the University of Minnesota is dedicated to education in the liberal tradition that fosters enriched, productive, and satisfying lives and is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

The purpose of the College of Liberal Arts is to advance a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and engaged society through its three-fold mission: to create new knowledge and artistic expression and develop the next generation of scholars; to educate graduate and undergraduate students and prepare them for a productive life of intellectual curiosity, cultural appreciation, and continuous learning; and to engage with our community to achieve the land grant promise of a university in service to the community.

The core values of the College of Liberal Arts include freedom of thought and expression; respect, diversity, and social justice; excellence in all we do; and efficiency and adaptability in the achievement of our mission.

Wrapping up a season

The end of the regular season in Major League Baseball has come to a close and the playoffs await. The Boston Red Sox are in the playoffs, proving that the world is indeed aligned property on its axis.

Over the past two weeks, the Red Sox and the New York Yankees each swept the other in series at their home parks as the season wrapped up. That perfect balance made me think of my dad and smile, as this time of year often does. I hope you can pardon me indulging in some sentimentality. My dad was an ardent New York Yankees fan – one flaw in an otherwise sensible and decent man, as I saw it. Despite not being a Red Sox fan, though, he brought me to Fenway Park at least a couple of times a year to see the Sox while I was growing up, and even somehow managed to sweet-talk us into the ballpark one year in February or March. It was the first time I had ever been inside Fenway and, to a little kid, it was a stunning sight. He indulged all this Red Sox fandom in me (maybe he secretly wondered where he had gone wrong) and never let on until I was a teenager that he was a secret Yankee rooter.

After that, it was no longer so secret, and we enjoyed many years of good-natured mutual ribbing. He was even mildly sympathetic when the Red Sox lost in the 7-game World Series in 1975, saying – for my benefit – that the Cincinnati Reds victory was “tainted” by a bad call by an umpire in Game 5. I know now he was just trying to help me get through it a little more easily. He made sure I got to see it in person, getting the two of us tickets to Game 2 (alas, a Red Sox loss). He passed away about 20 years ago and never in his life had to suffer through watching the Red Sox win a World Series. The Red Sox have won the Series three times since, and each time they won one of the first things that went through my mind was my dad and our baseball history and how it kept us close, and I couldn’t help but, in my mind, give him a tip of the cap. A Red Sox cap, of course.

Dean's Memo - August 2016

posted Oct 7, 2016, 11:34 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Oct 7, 2016, 11:34 AM ]

This month’s artisan memo has been curated and crafted in small batches and designed with just you in mind. Support your local memo writers. The definition of “monthly memo” is stretched in this edition to mean the “summer memo.” My apologies for the length. It is the memo that keeps on giving and giving.

Items in this month’s memo:

Results of Compact process for CLA

Development/fundraising reaches 15-year high in FY 16

Roadmap news: Research and creative excellence

  • Please mark September 14 on your calendar to welcome our new faculty

  • Faculty recruitment 2016-17

  • Grand Challenges research update

  • International task force update and follow up

  • Budget Advisory Committee report on center review and support

Roadmap news: Readiness

  • An update on our career services and student readiness efforts

  • What do first year students think?

  • Incoming first-year class size exceeds target for second year

Roadmap news: Diversity and Engagement

  • Seed grants awarded for projects promoting diversity and engagement in CLA

  • Enhanced support for improving diversity in graduate student recruitment

Other news

  • Staff service milestones

  • Thank you to chairs for their service

  • Confidential reporting of law and policy violations at UReport

Results of Compact process for CLA

Earlier this summer we received the outcomes of the Compact process for CLA. You’ll recall that the annual Compact process requires the college to put on the table funds that will be reallocated to address budget gaps in other colleges, fund university-level strategic initiatives, or be returned back to the college to invest in our priorities. Overall, the college did well, receiving back in investments for graduate stipends, faculty replacements, the Islamic Studies initiative, and human rights research approximately the amount we put forward as reallocations, plus receiving funding for our 2.5% merit compensation increase. You can read more details about the results of the process on my blog.

Development/fundraising reaches 15-year high in FY 16

The college had a strong year of development and fundraising. Across the college we raised $16.7 million to support our students and faculty and for other purposes, which is the highest total in 15 years. These dollars include current gifts as well as commitments for future gifts such as estate gifts. Great credit for these results is due to our development team and department chairs and faculty who engaged with our donors and friends. I am pleased to report we are now fully staffed in our development team for FY 17 and we have Mark Baumgartner in place as our Assistant Dean of Development for CLA and Chief Arts Philanthropy Officer for the university.

Roadmap news: Research and creative excellence

Please mark September 14 on your calendar to welcome our 30+ new faculty

Recruiting and retaining field shaping faculty is a core commitment of the CLA Roadmap. The college seeks to be among the most highly rated of its peers across the country and indeed around the world, and this goal rests fundamentally on the quality of our faculty. To provide an educational experience that attracts students to the U, we must invest in the research and creative preeminence of our faculty in areas of excellence, growing student demand, critical need for curricular integrity, responsiveness to the changing demographics of our communities.

2015-16 was an exceptionally busy year of recruitment activity in the college. The college added 32 tenured and tenure track faculty across 18 departments. This is an unusually high level of recruitment and we look forward to the surge of new intellectual energy these colleagues will bring to our college. Please join me on September 14, 4-5:30 pm, McNamara Alumni Center, for a new faculty reception to welcome these new colleagues to CLA and the U and help them forge connections at the U.

Adding world-class faculty to our roster drives our success. They will significantly accelerate our research and creative excellence with a diverse faculty, provide inspirational instruction and life-shaping opportunity for our undergraduate and graduate students, and serve our communities through outreach and engagement. Through advancing our Roadmap goals of student readiness for their lives after campus, a relentless focus on research and creative excellence, diversity and inclusion as central values of the college, and deepening a culture of engagement, our new faculty will join our current faculty in demonstrating the continued vitality and critical importance of the liberal arts and moving us toward fulfilling our vision of CLA as a destination college. Thanks to all of you who were part of the recruitment efforts and departmental visits and to Associate Deans Ana Paula Ferreira (Arts and Humanities) and Penny Edgell (Social Sciences) for their work on successfully recruiting these outstanding scholars to CLA.

Faculty recruitment 2016-17

In the 2016-17 academic year, the College of Liberal Arts will conduct searches for regular faculty positions across a number of units. Searches authorized include departments involved in three-year planning as well as departments submitting requests as part of the  annual budget process.

In making authorization decisions, the Associate Deans and I take into account several factors including: the significance of a position for departmental strategic planning and building/rebuilding/maintaining excellence; critical needs to address substantial and immediate curricular/intellectual gaps; student credit hour pressures and increased teaching loads on faculty; and intellectual and curricular innovations building upon current strengths, including in clusters. Positions that would contribute to more than one of these considerations were prioritized. Ultimately, there are far more requests submitted than there are searches that can be authorized.

One of the goals of the college’s new three-year planning process is to provide more certainty to departments about faculty size and searches over the coming three-year period, and we will continue three-year strategic planning with our second wave of departments this year.

Departments approved for searches in 2016-17 received authorization notices in June and July. These include Art (Photography); Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese Literature/Culture); Economics (Open); Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (Open); German, Scandinavian and Dutch (Scandinavian/German Studies or North European Studies); History (Environmental History); Journalism and Mass Communication (Strategic Communication/Advertising); Psychology (Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology; Statistics (Open); Theatre Arts and Dance (Scenic Design); Departments TBD (Islamic Studies cluster, 2 positions).

Grand Challenges research update

As you know, the summer was an active season for the Grand Challenges research agenda, with proposals for exploratory research grants submitted by groups of faculty as well as proposals developed by interdisciplinary workgroups comprised of faculty from across the university. CLA had faculty representation on all five of the workgroups. A review panel of faculty considered the proposals and recommended a subset for additional consideration by the university. These proposals were shared with small groups of deans organized around each of the Grand Challenges. I participated in three of these groups: Fostering just and equitable communities; Enhancing individual and community capacity for a changing world; and Advancing health through tailored solutions. The focus of these small groups, convened by Professor Bud Duvall, was to discuss the proposals and provide some feedback that would be shared with Provost Hansen as she deliberates about the university’s investments across the five grand challenge areas.

Budget Advisory Committee report on center reviews

I reported in a previous Monthly Memo that in fall 2015 I asked the Budget Advisory Committee to put individual center reviews on pause and, instead, to engage in a broader conversation about the review process and to provide us with an overview of center support, review, and administrative arrangements, along with any recommendations the BAC might have. Centers provide a key intellectual and interdisciplinary role in the college and the time was right was a comprehensive overview. The BAC report is now available (click on the BAC Documents link). I thank the committee for its hard work and I encourage you to read it and provide feedback to cladean@umn.edu.

International task force update and follow up

In my March Monthly Memo, I reported on the work of the CLA Task Force on Internationalization and asked for your feedback on its report. After considering this feedback, we will be following up on three areas of recommendation in the report as first steps:

  • Enhancing visibility: The Task Force agreed that there is a great deal of international activity around teaching and research already underway in CLA, but that we have not yet done enough to pull this together to demonstrate the scale and scope of our efforts.

  • Improving the quality of learning abroad: The Task Force was eager to improve the quality of learning abroad opportunities for our students.  It was agreed that the Learning Abroad Center (LAC) offers a plethora of options, but students do not receive the guidance necessary to select the best opportunity or to prepare adequately for that opportunity, and that programs are uneven in how well they intersect with the academic goals of our majors. To address these shortcomings, CLA’s Office of Undergraduate Education will hire a staff member in a position shared with LAC as well as appoint a faculty member to lead initiatives in this area.

  • Going “glocal": CLA should take fuller advantage of the diverse and global community in which our campus is situated, creating opportunities for students to connect the global and the local. The Institute for Global Studies and the Office of Undergraduate Education will begin discussing next steps in this area.

The Task Force report also included a number of other recommendations that may warrant future action. Some of the recommendations, as noted in your feedback, intersect with more general issues and are not limited to the international arena itself. Support for research and travel would be one example in that category. My thanks again to the Task Force for its dedicated work and to all of you who provided feedback.

Roadmap news: Readiness

An update on our career services and student readiness efforts

The CLA Roadmap commits the college to a goal of student readiness: making students with CLA degrees the most desirable graduates for their career pursuits and for engagement in their communities. This past year, as one of our Roadmap initiatives we rolled out a new model of providing career services assistance for all departments across the college. The results to date have been encouraging and in some respects dramatic. For example, our career advisors visited 5 classes in fall 2014, and 74 in fall 2015. Read more in this analysis by Maggie Heier and Katy Hinz. I thank Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Gary Oehlert for his continued leadership on student readiness.

What do first-year students think?

Kat Albrecht and Rebecca Xiao, two students serving as First Year Experience Team Leaders in 2015-16, set out to examine six "myths" about first-year students, including their optimism about college, their interest in careers, and their social media habits. Well worth reading to learn more about our students.

Incoming first-year class size exceeds target for second year

The entering class of first-year students will be about 2550, exceeding the university target by about 100 students for the second consecutive year. In the incoming class, 72% of students list CLA as their first-choice college, which is up 5 points from last year and the highest percentage in a decade. Many of you are involved in the process of welcoming and informing students who visit the college or ask us questions electronically prior to making their decision. Thank you for your success in letting them know that CLA is a great choice for their education.

Seed grants awarded for projects promoting diversity and engagement in CLA

The Joan Aldous Innovation Fund was launched in 2015 to provide seed grants for faculty and staff to test new projects or initiatives that advance CLA’s four Roadmap goals. The Aldous Innovation Fund focuses on one or more Roadmap goals annually.For 2015-16 the awards focus on the two key Roadmap goals of diversity and engagement. Diversity grants test new projects that promote equity, inclusion, and diversity throughout CLA. Engagement grants focus on new projects that connect CLA research, creative work, instruction, and outreach with communities beyond the boundaries of the campus. Read this list of the 25 projects funded in this year’s competition to learn about some of the exciting diversity and engagement pilots occurring across the college.

Roadmap news: Diversity and Engagement

Enhanced support for improving diversity in graduate student recruitment

The college provided additional support to assist departments in graduate student recruitment in 2015-16. First, starting fall 2016, recipients of university DOVE fellowships receive a supplemental Beverly and Richard Fink First Year Fellowship to bring the stipend to the level of the CLA Graduate Fellowship. Second, the college provides four years of guaranteed summer support at $4000 per year (2 years for MFA) through the Beverly and Richard Fink Summer Fellowship. We thank the Fink family for their generous support of our Roadmap goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in the college and fostering research and creative excellence. Third, with additional one-time funds from the Provost’s office, we were able to provide DOVE recipients with a research, creative activity, and travel award fund. These efforts helped boost our acceptance rate among DOVE recipients to 73%. The average the preceding six years was 54%. CLA also provides a $4000 first-year fellowship to students nominated for a DOVE fellowship but who were not awarded one. The increase in our CLA base stipend to $17,500 likely also improved our acceptance rate. Thanks to Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs Alex Rothman for his leadership on these initiatives.

Other news

Staff service milestones

This past year, 13 of our staff reached significant service milestones at the U. They are:

  • 20 years: Agnes Malika (AAAS); Diane Rackowski (Learning Center)

  • 25 years: Bruce Wintervold (TAD); Liz Gates (PSY); Kamran Motevaze (PSY); Vanessa Abanu (AAAS)

  • 30 years: Edna Day (AIS; CLS); Kathy Kipp-Huspeni (Fiscal); Mary Drew (SOC); Hildaviktoria Mork (SOC)

  • 35 years: Rosanne Duffe (Student Services)

  • 40 years: Mary Achartz (SJMC)

  • 45 years: Barbara London (IGS)

Staff make this place run. Please join me in thanking our dedicated staff for their service to the U.

Thank you to chairs for their service

The following department chairs finished their term of service at the end of the 2015-16 academic year: Yuichiro Onishi (African American and African Studies); Joseph Allen (Asian Languages and Literatures); Edén Torres (Chicano & Latino Studies); Ellen Messer-Davidow (English); Jigna Desai (Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies); Ruth Karras (History); Jeanette Gundel (Linguistics); Joan Tronto (Political Science); Dennis Cook (Statistics).

Chairs play a critically important leadership role in the college, and I thank these now-former chairs for their dedication and service to their departments and the college.

Confidential reporting of law and policy violations at UReport

UReport, operated by the Office of Institutional Compliance, is the university's confidential reporting system. It is essential to the culture and reputation of the university and the college that violations of law and policy be identified and addressed as early as possible. Faculty, staff, and students can use the system to report violations of local, state, or federal laws, university policy, or conduct that is inconsistent with contract or grant requirements. You can make a report anonymously or you can elect to identify yourself. If you choose to remain anonymous, your identity cannot be traced and you will still be able to communicate with those following up on the concerns you have reported via the UReport system. You can access the UReport/EthicsPoint system by phone (866-294-8680) or via the web. We all desire a college in which all of us fully comply with all applicable laws, policies, and codes of conduct, and we encourage all members of the CLA community to use this system when they are not comfortable coming directly to departmental or collegiate leaders regarding their concerns.

Dean's Memo - March 2016

posted Oct 7, 2016, 11:31 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Oct 7, 2016, 11:32 AM ]

I know this month’s memo is long but, just think, it could have been even longer. You’re welcome.

What do we do in the liberal arts?

A couple of weeks ago, while desperately awaiting my bag of 5 pretzels on a flight, I got to thinking about the idea that in the liberal arts and in this college we transform lives. I have used that expression myself many, many times. Whether within the college, in discussions with folks in other parts of the university, or with alums, donors, friends, regents, and others, I have conveyed that message many times. I deeply believe it to be true.

Pretzels in hand, I mused on this a little more. What do we mean by transforming lives? Or, put differently, what kind of lives do we believe the liberal arts build? What is the result of our teaching, research, and creativity? A number of ways to think about this question immediately came to mind. Research, creative work, and instruction in the liberal arts promotes, builds, and helps our students and societies achieve the ethical life, the beautiful life, the artistic life, the virtuous life, the literate life, the thinking life, the learning life, the inventive life, the innovative life, the questioning life, the analytical life, the adaptive life, the responsible life, the inclusive life, the just life, the committed life, the inspirational life, the aspirational life, the participatory life, the engaged life, the communicative life, the connecting life, the global life, the employed life, the productive life, the successful life, the joyful life, the human life. Over the top? I don’t think so. These are among the fruits of liberal arts education and research that is both broad and deep. Remarkable. What we do here in the College of Liberal Arts in transforming lives is profound. It is something for which you should feel great pride.

A shared responsibility to transform lives

The transformation of lives that emerges from the liberal arts is a shared and collective responsibility and privilege. Our CLA Roadmap goals are motivated by these transformative effects. In the college administrative offices, my goal is for us to build an environment and provide the resources that best position faculty and staff to thrive as you pursue your important work. We’ve made progress but still have more to improve.

My thinking about the Roadmap and what we do in the college offices and throughout the college is driven by considering whether what we are doing is pursuing (yes, relentlessly) the highest level of research and creative excellence, providing outstanding opportunity for our students, and delivering tremendous service internally as well as to our alumni, stakeholder, and communities.

As I noted, this is a shared responsibility and privilege of us all. I touched on some of these themes back in the fall in my State of the College address, and raised a set of questions then that are worth mentioning again here.

We transform lives near and far through our research and creative excellence. So, ask: How is your department assisting and recognizing scholars doing first-rate research and creative work, and how are you helping your fellow colleagues who might be needing to gain or regain traction on their research? How are you helping graduate students do great research? What can be done better?

We transform the lives of students by providing curricular, experiential, career, and other opportunities. So, ask: What is your department doing to transform the lives of our students? What can it do better or different for both undergraduate and graduate students?

We transform the lives of communities with service by sharing our research. So, ask: What is your department doing to share its expertise beyond the borders of campus, and to learn from the expertise beyond our borders? What can be done better?

There is wonderful and inspirational work happening every day in this college, and these questions are being answered in impressive fashion. Continually asking these kinds of questions across the college--in departments, centers, administrative offices, and so on--pushes us to do even better.

Three-year departmental planning and budgeting

In my departmental visits in the fall, I discussed the college’s move to a new planning practice where we will have three-year planning arrangements with departments. These are intended to provide the basis for a collaborative and partnering relationship with departments, to reduce us versus them perceptions and tone, and to reduce uncertainty. Our goal is to have conversations about substance and academic merits first, and the discussion about budget and finances second. The former, not the latter, drives what we want to do, but the latter obviously provides some parameters around how we can achieve the former. Each of the next three years (including this spring), one-third of our departments will have their three-year planning meetings. You can see the list of questions/topics departments are asked to address and the year in which departments will be having their three-year planning meeting here. These questions incorporate the kinds of questions just asked in the previous “shared responsibility” section of this monthly memo.

Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities

I am pleased to announce that Ana Paula Ferreira, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, has agreed to continue serving as the Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities in 2016-17. Ana Paula has served us all well last year and this year, and I am delighted we will benefit from her leadership and innovative thinking and service for another year. Please join me in thanking her.

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs search

Alex Rothman has provided five years of distinguished leadership as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs and will be stepping down at the conclusion of the academic year. I am thankful to Alex for extending his three-year term and agreeing to serve during my first two years at the U. With Alex’s leadership we have added more research support, improved graduate student funding, and added a new grant opportunity for associate professors.

You will be hearing from me shortly about the search for our next Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs. In the meantime, if you are curious about the position, Alex (email) would be happy to speak with you about it.

Report of the CLA Internationalization Task Force now available for review and comment

In the fall I appointed a Task Force on Internationalization to think about the place of internationalization in CLA. The task force has now completed the writing of its report and you can view it here. Over the next several weeks, I encourage you to review the report and provide your feedback on the analysis and recommendations. Many thanks to the task force for its dedicated work (the membership list is at the above link), with special appreciation to Professor of History MJ Maynes for chairing the task force and Christopher Stordalen, Assistant Director of Information Technology with LATIS, for facilitating the group’s work.  

Understanding the university’s 2016 budget compact process

Last year I wrote a long blog post explaining how the university’s annual compact process works. Words such as “stirring,” “riveting,” and “deeply moving” were uttered by readers near and far. Because I was not sure I could capture that poetic lightning in a bottle twice, this year I penned a shorter post that provides the key facts facing CLA for the 2016 compact process. Since that post, CLA has had our compact meeting with our friends in central. In the contribution side of the reallocation pools -- refer to the links above to understand these terms of art -- by far the largest line item we submitted was faculty attrition due to resignations and retirements. On the investment side, we focused on requests to support our CLA Roadmap goals. In the standard reallocation pool, we requested funds to invest in graduate support; hire faculty; and increase support for our research office to improve and expand our services for faculty, staff, and graduate students. We requested funds to promote our Roadmap goal of student readiness and curricular innovation through investment to develop of an online suite of Liberal Education courses. In the strategic plan reallocation pool, we requested support for a Social Science Methods Commons; Minnesota Humanities Engagement Hub; human rights research and programming joint with the Humphrey School; and Islamic studies (two faculty positions and programming support). We will learn the outcome of our Compact requests sometime in May.

Enhancing transparency

Two of my goals to improve operations in the college are enhancing our shared governance and improving our data and informational transparency. One simple step to advance both is to make it easier to find information about CLA governance online. We’ve developed a new governance page on our intranet that pulls together agendas and other materials for our governance committees and the Assembly. This new page is a work in progress and will become more robust in the weeks and months ahead. Please let me know at cladean@umn.edu if you have suggestions for what should appear on the page. If you are involved with a CLA governance or representative group that has a web presence, please let Ellen Miller know and we will add the link to the page. Ellen is new to the Dean’s Office, joining us recently as Executive Assistant to the Dean and Chief of Staff, the position formerly held by Kelsey Cook. Ellen provides administrative support for the Assembly and governance generally.

Another move toward improved transparency is making it easier to view data about the college. We have launched a new data portal called CLARA, for CLA Reporting and Analytics. The site pulls together data concerning budgets, enrollments, staffing, SERU survey results, and so on. Currently chairs, administrators, and select administrative staff have access to the site. We will soon be rolling out college-wide access.

Shared governance activities 2015-16

In addition to their ongoing responsibilities, CLA’s governance bodies have been exploring a range of significant issues this year. As mentioned in a previous Monthly Memo, the Curriculum, Instruction, and Advising Committee is examining the Major Project requirement and how this is implemented across the college. The Budget Advisory Committee is reviewing and making recommendations on how the college supports and reviews centers. The Council of Chairs has provided feedback on a variety of issues, such as salary equity processes. In the fall, the CLA Assembly discussed the length of the CLA tenure clock, in which faculty currently, on the standard timeline, come up for promotion review in their sixth year. The Assembly was asked to consider whether CLA should, as some of our peer institutions have done, consider a lengthening of the tenure clock to compensate for grant funding challenges, difficulties at university presses, and other developments. The Assembly discussion concluded there was insufficient reason to adjust the clock at this time and some good reasons not to do so.  

Other representative bodies in CLA have also made key contributions to the development of college policy and practice. The P&A Board has worked with college offices to craft a plan for multi-year P&A appointments. The Administrators Forum has been engaged on the issue of revising fiscal practices, procedures, and communication in the college. The CLA Student Board has provided detailed recommendations for improving the experience of international and transfer students in the college. As part of shared governance and the pursuit of research and creative excellence in the CLA Roadmap, we have asked CLA graduate students on the Council of Graduate Students to help us develop a framework for a graduate student board in CLA.

I could provide more examples. Let me conclude with two points. First, many thanks and deep appreciation to those faculty, staff, and students who are serving, or have served, on the governance and representative bodies named above, as well as other such bodies in CLA. And second, we will continue to work to create a more robust shared governance environment.

The inspiring legacy of Professor Joan Aldous

University of Minnesota Sociology Ph.D. and Professor Joan Aldous left a legacy to boost CLA in pursuing its priorities. This year, we are using the Aldous Fund to advance our CLA Roadmap diversity and engagement goals. You can read about Professor Aldous’s gift here.

Coleman’s grab bag of this and that

  • If you are interested, I have some charts you can peruse based on the presidential nomination contests. Mainly, these are compiling exit poll data.

  • Apps you must have: MPLS Parking and PassportParking. These allow you to pay for parking meter parking online in Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively. Trust me, you’ll seek out opportunities to park with these nifty little apps on your device. A third great app is Glympse. This one lets you send a link to someone who can then watch your progress as you travel. Helpful. These are iOS. Not sure about Android availability.

  • My NCAA brackets went 15-1 on the first day. After that? Well, I didn’t want to show off so I slowed down my success. Significantly.

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