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Office of the Dean

August 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to campus for another school year. It is a great time to be at Purdue in the Liberal Arts. The campus has just welcomed one of the largest classes ever and this presents a significant opportunity for the College to continue to ensure that each student experiences the full benefit of a Purdue education.  

Our faculty continue to be recognized for their accomplishments. Here are a few that caught my attention:

  • Kenneth Ferraro, distinguished professor of sociology and director of the Center for Aging and the Life Course, has won the 2018 Lu Ann Aday Award. One of the university’s top three research honors, the Aday Award recognizes a member of the Purdue faculty who has made an impact on their field in the humanities and social sciences. Ken will be honored for his innovative work and contributions in sociology and gerontology. Professor Ferraro will present the Lu Ann Aday Distinguished Lecture at 10:30 a.m. on October 29th in Fowler Hall. I encourage you to attend.
  • Professor Dan Smith (Philosophy) received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in support of his work on 21st Century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Dan’s grant was one of 219 humanities projects nationwide to be supported by NEH.
  • Professor Robin Stryker, a new faculty member in sociology, won two Distinguished Article Awards from the American Sociological Association from the Human Rights and the Political Sociology sections of ASA. Both were for her 2017 American Journal of Sociology article “From Legal Doctrine to Social Transformation: Comparing U.S. Voting, Equal Employment Opportunity and Fair Housing Legislation.”

These and more faculty and staff achievements will continue to be featured in the For the Honor series. Please make sure to send me your recent accomplishments so we can help spread the word and celebrate your impact as scholars, educators, and engaged citizens.

A number of leadership transitions have taken place since last fall. We welcome three new School/Department Heads: Dorsey Armstrong (English) and Jennifer William (Languages and Cultures) assumed leadership of their academic units in the spring 2018 semester and Melissa Remis began her appointment as Head of the Department of Anthropology earlier this month. In addition, three faculty members will serve as Interim Heads: Frederick “Fritz” Davis (History) and Eric Waltenburg (Political Science) will serve the full academic year, while Al Lopez (Interdisciplinary Studies) will serve for the fall semester.

Please join me in thanking Ellen Gruenbaum, Doug Hurt, Mady Henry, and Rosie Clawson for their leadership and service as Heads.

Within the Dean’s Office, I am pleased to welcome Sorin Matei, professor of communication, to the role of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education. In recognition of his exceptional work, I am also pleased to congratulate Joel Ebarb on his promotion to Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and International Programs.

Joining us on campus is an exceptional group of educators and scholars who will play an important role in our ongoing success. I know that you will join me in welcoming them. You can learn a bit more about each of them here.

The College remains committed to elevating our research profile and supporting our faculty and graduate students in their scholarship. Empowering Excellence, a support fund for Liberal Arts scholarship, continues this academic year. The Office of the Provost and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, in partnership with the College, will continue their commitments to promoting excellence in research and creative endeavors in the College of Liberal Arts.

Support is available through those programs as follows:

  • Aspire will award up to $425,000 to support faculty research and travel through generous support from the Provost.
  • PROMISE will award up to $200,000 to support graduate student research with $150,000 from the College and $50,000 from the Provost.
  • Engage provides an investment of up to $100,000 from the Provost to tenure-track faculty members, especially early- and mid-career faculty, on advancing a piece of scholarship and/or creative activity that is in final draft form.
  • Create! will invest $100,000 from the Provost for creative endeavors for faculty in the arts with proposal categories in artistic production and artistic presentation.
  • 2Teach provides $100,000 per year across the college from the Provost and will provide S&E support of $5,000 for two awards in each academic unit to address evolving teaching needs.
  • Innovate will continue to provide $150,000 from the College to support advances in undergraduate education. Details for this year’s program will be announced in September.

I want to provide a brief update on two key undergraduate education initiatives as well.

The Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program had a soft launch last year with about 100 students. Cornerstone’s first-year classes enrolled 991 students for this fall semester. Another 900 seats will be offered in the spring. The fall enrollment includes students from across the campus with the largest number of students from the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and the College of Engineering.

Our college-wide Degree in 3 program was announced almost a year ago. While it is still early, we believe at least 50 students are pursuing the three-year track. In June, the Board of Trustees officially added Degree in 3 to the University’s Purdue Moves, noting that it started within our College. We will continue to promote Degree in 3 over the coming year as part of our undergraduate recruitment efforts.

Finally, while I will not review it in detail, I encourage you to review this infographic, which reflects our advances in faculty research support, graduate student stipends, undergraduate recruitment and more.

Looking forward, as the University begins its sesquicentennial celebration, the College of Liberal Arts continues to play a meaningful role in shaping the education of Purdue students in new and exciting ways. Thank you for your support and hard work. It has enabled the College to make important progress on a number of initiatives that position us for success as a leader in liberal arts education and scholarship.

Wishing you a productive and fulfilling academic year.


David Reingold

David A. Reingold
Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts