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Office of the Dean

January 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to campus. I hope all enjoyed a pleasant and restorative winter break.

As we begin a new year, I am pleased to provide updates on a handful of College initiatives, to recognize the research of our scholars, to offer a brief progress report on head searches, and to highlight a few of the speakers we will welcome to campus this semester.

In 2019, we will conclude work on a strategic plan for the College. With guidance from consultant Rab Mukerjea, a committee co-chaired by Professor of Political Science Rosie Clawson and Director of Financial Affairs Kirke Willing has worked to define a strategic vision for the College for the next five years. The CLA Faculty Senate received key elements of that work near the end of fall semester. Plans are to circulate a draft strategic plan to the Senate for input and discussion this semester. Thank you to Rosie and Kirke for their leadership and to all of the committee members for their hard work.

Low-enrollment courses in the College of Liberal Arts are down 50% from this time two years ago. This change is due in large part to the strategic review of course offerings by our academic units with a focus on responding to student interest while ensuring progress toward degree. Low-enrollment courses in CLA once accounted for over half of the total of under-enrolled courses at the university; that percentage has dropped to close to 35%.

The CLA Core Renewal Task Force, led by Senior Associate Dean Joel Ebarb and chaired by Department of Philosophy Head Chris Yeomans, continues its work. We expect a revised core will debut this semester for college-level review and hopeful approval before the end of the academic year. Already, the committee has produced what is now theDegree+ program, putting dual degrees with liberal arts within reach for all Purdue students. This, too, promises to enhance enrollments in our courses and reduce the number of low-enrollment classes further still.

It is my pleasure to congratulate these 11 faculty members who received internal research grants. Thank you, as well, to Associate Dean Sorin Matei and the faculty reviewers who participated in this process.

Global Synergy Research for Faculty

  • Elena Benedicto, professor, Department of English
  • Amanda Veile, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology

Enhancing Research in the Humanities and Arts

  • Kathryn Cramer Brownell, associate professor, Department of History
  • Angelica Duran, professor, Department of English
  • Dino Felluga, professor, Department of English
  • Lynn Hooker, associate professor, Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance

Exploratory Research in Social Science

  • Michele Buzon, professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Alejandro Cuza-Blanco, professor, Spanish and Linguistics
  • Jean Beaman, assistant professor, Department of Sociology

Faculty Development Center for Humanistic Studies (assignment to work on research project full-time for one semester)

  • Daniel Kelly, associate professor, Department of Philosophy
  • Rebekah Klein-Pejšová, associate professor, History and Jewish Studies

I am pleased, also, to share an update on another of our faculty advancement initiatives. Since 2015, the College has sponsored CLA faculty member participation in the Faculty Success Program offered by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. This 12-week program is designed to assist faculty in learning strategies to manage their time and priorities and to expand their professional mentor networks. With leadership from Associate Dean Wei Hong, to date, 41 assistant and associate professors have completed the program and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I am committed to continuing our support of faculty development with this and other programs.

This semester we continue to work forward with searches for three academic unit heads. This week, Political Science and History will hold first-round web interviews with candidates. The firm Witt/Kieffer will help facilitate the head search in the Patti & RustyRueff School of Design, Art, and Performance. Their representatives will be on campus the week of January 14 to meet with faculty and staff in the school, as well as the search committee.

One of the many benefits of working on a college campus is the broad array of speakers who contribute to the intellectual discourse between faculty, staff, and students. Among those the College will host this semester are contemporary political theorist Francis Fukuyama, who will present the inaugural Jack Miller Lecture; author Colson Whitehead, who will keynote the 2019 Literary Awards; and Neil Maher, who will present the 2019 Stover Lecture. No doubt there are many others who will join us this semester, as well, contributing to the rich academic culture at Purdue.

This promises to be another productive and energizing semester across the College. Please accept my thanks for your hard work that continues to help us realize our goal of emerging as a leader in innovative liberal arts education and scholarship.

Best wishes for the semester.


David Reingold

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