Dean’s Corner: An update from CAS Dean Michael F. Andrews, PhD
Dear CAS Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
As we leave behind the feast of Epiphany and mover further into the start of a new year, let us remember to take time to be grateful for the many gifts of mind, body, and spirit that are ours and which give such richness and meaning to our lives. We all long for the start of a new year without the ravages of war and enmity that are all too present in our world today through the effects of poverty, violence, oppression, suffering, and discrimination. And yet, even in the midst of such turmoil, the prophet Micah reminds us: “Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” As we prepare the start of the spring semester, please be assured that our work as teachers, staff, and scholars — individually and collectively — is a blessing to everyone we serve here on The Bluff, especially our students. The work of the College is holy work. We help cultivate souls and attempt to bring creative and critical reflection to a world greatly in need of healing. May the peace of God’s grace be our joy throughout this New Year 2017.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences McNerney-Hanson Endowed Chair in Ethics Professor of Philosophy
It is my pleasure to take a few moments and bring you up to date on several CAS initiatives.
This was a very busy Fall Semester! We welcomed Jessica Valentine, new Administrative Assistant to the Dean, and two new Program Counselors, Becca Van Drimmelen and Katie Richardson, into the Dean’s Office; as well as Sarah Schmits as BIO lab manager. As of December 12, 2016, there are 379 freshmen, 994 continuing students, as well as 50 transfer, 5 readmit, and 30 graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences, directly serving a total of 1,458 students. This Fall, the College also implemented a new CAS Dean’s Office restructure, based on recommendations from a series of all-College listening sessions. Congratulations to Dr. Laurie McLary, who joined the newly- restructured CAS Dean’s Office as one of three Academic Associate Deans, along with Dr. Norah Martin and Dr. Ed Valente. And of course, our collective thanks to Dr. Elise Moentmann, Associate Dean for Students and all of the CAS Department Chairs — and to each of you — who continue to inspire all that we do in the College with your leadership and your gracious gifts of teaching, scholarship, and service. I am also grateful to the upper administration’s strong support of the College in helping us meet academic responsibilities for all our major, minor, and University core curriculum courses. Thank you to everyone who helps ensure that every UP student continues to receive the very best Holy Cross liberal arts education in the humanities and the natural and social sciences.
Please join me in prayers for the loss of three CAS faculty members.
I assume most have already heard the very sad news that Adam Clausen, who taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics during the 2011-2012 academic year, was killed in a tragic automobile accident just after Christmas, along with his wife, Shannon O’Leary, who was an Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark. Shannon Mayer, Physics department chair, notes that Adam was a terrific teacher and a wonderful colleague. I cannot agree more: Adam was a member of my “entering class” here at UP, and all who knew him are heartbroken. All of us in the College are deeply saddened by this tragic and senseless loss. Adam and Shannon will be profoundly missed by everyone in the Portland physics community. Please especially remember their four-year-old son, Felix, who miraculously survived the accident. Also, our prayers to the family of Scott Pilzer and Christie Stauffer. Scott has been a popular adjunct Physics instructor in CAS since 2013 and Christie is a Math adjunct. I am very sad to share news that Scott died on December 11, 2016 of congestive heart failure. Our collective prayers and condolences to Christie and her family.
In gratitude for the life and many gifts of our dear CAS colleague and Environmental Studies Associate Professor, Fr. Ron Wasowski, CSC, who died on December 5, 2016, please take a few minutes to visit the University’s glass-case tribute to Fr. Ron on the first floor of Buckley Center.May Fr. Ron, Adam, and Scott and all our beloved departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Congratulations to Dr. Larry Larsen, newly appointed Academic Associate Dean of the College, effective July 1, 2017. With the unanimous recommendation of the four CAS associate deans, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Larry Larsen, M.F.A. as our new Academic Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Portland. Larry will begin his three-year term on July 1, 2017, following Dr. Norah Martin’s return to the Philosophy Department after eight years of service to CAS as an Associate Dean. Professor Larsen received the B.A. in Speech and Drama with a concentration in Business from Trinity University and the M.F.A. degree from the University of Washington in 1986 in Scenic and Lighting Design. He has been at the University of Portland since 1994 and was awarded promotion to Professor in 2012. Before arriving at UP, Larry taught at Santa Rosa Junior College and was a guest lecturer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 1989-1993. Larry will be a valuable addition to the CAS Dean’s Office, bringing particular expertise from serving four years as Chair of the University of Portland Academic Senate and two years as Chair of Teaching and Scholarship. He was appointed to the original Assessment Committee created at UP in 1988 and has served on various Presidential Advisory Committees (Health and Safety, 1995-1997, 2000-2001, and 2005-2006; Student Media, 1999- 2000), as well as the director of the London Summer Program in 2008 and 2013. I am confident that Larry will bring a broad understanding and expertise in helping the Dean’s Office best serve faculty and the growing needs of the College, including faculty development, new programs and initiatives, core assessment, interdisciplinary minors, graduate-level education, and an ongoing cycle of program reviews, curriculum development, assessment, and accreditation.
Larry completes his sixth year of service as Chair of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts in June 2017. He presently oversees seven separate department budget lines and coordinates all upgrades and reconstruction projects to Mago Hunt Center, Mehling Blair Studio, and Music Lesson spaces. Larry has extensive experience hiring, evaluating, and supporting full-time and adjunct faculty across multiple major and minor, undergraduate and graduate programs in the department. He regularly works with the Development Office for capital improvements regarding the University’s art and performance facilities and programs. In addition, he oversees all budget, advertising, and artistic direction for Mocks Crest Productions. From 2007-2009 he served as Graduate Program Director for the MFA Directing Program, and serves as Technical Production Supervisor for all stage, technical, and production crews here at UP.
Professor Larsen has received awards and recognition for his design work with the American College Theater Festival and has won design awards for his work with the Kennedy Center Region VII and Mocks Crest. He was elected Commissioner for a three-year term for the National Association of Schools of Theater in 2015 and has served as an External Evaluator for Accreditation at six universities. Please join me in congratulating Larry Larsen and thanking him for his willingness to serve the College in this important leadership capacity.
CAS faculty searches:
Currently the College of Arts and Sciences is conducting eleven faculty searches over the course of Academic Year 2017. Since I have the privilege of meeting with all of the final candidates from each search, I know well the amount of hard work and effort that departments and individuals and search committees consistently extend. Thank you for your generous spirit of collaboration and hospitality as you help build the future of the College — and the University— far into the 21st century, and beyond. There is no other way to say it: Thank you for the endless hours and sometimes tedious tasks that need to be done; your unsung work is deeply and truly appreciated. Think of the hundreds, even thousands of lives your work will benefit as future graduates of the University of Portland. This is the “holy work” of the College, the “why” we do what we do. I say it repeatedly but not nearly enough: I believe there is no single effort more important to our Holy Cross mission than the hiring of excellent faculty, teachers, researchers, mentors, colleagues.
Program reviews are now fully underway for Theater, Political Science, and Communication Studies. Thanks again to everyone involved, especially as these three Program Reviews finalize their plans for their respective External Visitor’s on-campus meetings. After receiving the External Visitor’s Report and the Provost’s Response to the External Visitor’s Report, each department will be invited to share its final reflections in order to close the loop. Special thanks to Academic Associate Dean Laurie McLary for helping keep everyone involved, focused, and on-track throughout the ongoing process of assessment regarding her departmental Program Review responsibilities and oversight.
CAS Dean’s Department Chair Compensation Task Force:
I am pleased to report that the CAS Dean’s Department Chair Compensation Task Force has met several times already this year.Under the able guidance of Academic Associate Dean Ed Valente, other members of the Task Force include Steve Mayer (Chemistry); Anissa Rogers (Sociology and Social Work); Lora Looney (International Languages & Cultures); Andrew Eshleman (Philosophy); Andrew Guest (Psychological Sciences), and Greg Hill (Math). The work of the Task Force is continuing on schedule and I expect the members will present a written Review and Recommendations Report to me in my capacity as Dean later in Spring Semester. I will keep the College informed of the Task Force’s progress.
Newly appointed CAS Department Chairs:
Congratulations to our Newly appointed CAS Department Chairs who begin their new service positions on July 1, 2017. Please join me in congratulating the following CAS faculty members who have received appointments as department chairs for a three-year term, beginning July 1, 2017. I am hopeful that announcing these appointments now will allow ample opportunity for current and incoming chairs to work out a smooth transition over the course of spring semester:
Ami Ahern-Rindell, Biology Tina Astorga, Theology
Bill Curtis, Political Science
David DeLyser, Performing and Fine Arts Lars Larson, English
Bohn Lattin, Communication Studies Alex Santana, Philosophy
Confident that I speak for everyone in the College, let me express how grateful we all are for the willingness of our colleagues to serve in this important leadership capacity. Also, I would like to express my personal appreciation to Jacquie Van Hoomissen, Larry Larsen, Genevieve Brassard, Dann Pierce, and Andrew Eshleman for their heartfelt leadership and commitment over the past three years, even as they continue to lead their respective departments during the final semester of their three-year appointments. Special thanks to Tina Astorga (who is being reappointed to a second three- year term) and Bill Curtis (who is presently completing the last year of the former department chair’s three-year term).
My deep thanks as well to the many faculty members who took valuable time to meet together during department meetings as well as with me individually over the last several weeks. I am tremendously appreciative of the good work of our faculty, both individually and collectively, and the earnestness by which faculty members in the College engage important leadership opportunities.
I look forward to working closely with Ami, David, Lars, Bohn, and Alex, and of course continuing to work closely with Tina and Bill — as well as all other CAS Chairs who will continue their current roles into next year. Many, many thanks to our new (and continuing) CAS Chairs — as well as everyone, faculty and staff alike, who contribute to the College’s academic mission here at the University of Portland.
Please join me in thanking Profs. Ahern-Rindell, Astorga, Curtis, De Lyser, Larson, Lattin, and Santana for their willingness to serve the next three years as department chairs, beginning July 1, 2017.
The third CAS All-College Council will take place on Friday, January 20, 3:30-5:30PM in Franz 120.
This collective serves as an annual gathering of CAS academic leadership. A special email invitation to members of the All-College Council was recently issued and a reminder email will be sent in the coming weeks. All-College Council is a unique opportunity for leadership across the College — department chairs, directors of minors, program counselors, internship coordinators, directors of special programs, graduate program directors, as well as the CAS Learning Commons Administrator, the Franz Leadership CAS liaison, Speech & Debate Union, CAS CISGO liaison, Economics B.A. & Sustainability liaison, pre-health and pre-law advisors, associate deans, and the dean — to join together in a comprehensive conversation regarding important initiatives happening in CAS and across the wider campus. This year, in particular, we will explore opportunities and initiatives by which the College can concretely and collaboratively support tactics outlined in the University of Portland’s Strategic Plan: Vision 2020.
CAS Dean’s Initiative on Pedagogy and Inclusivity:
Faculty workshop led by Dr. Leticia Nieto, author of Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment (Cuetzpalin Publishers, Olympia, WA). Thursday, March 2nd, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM with refreshments. President’s Board Room. Please note: Dr. Nieto is a very dynamic, gifted, and engaging speaker, and the theme of her faculty workshop is important to all of us who teach undergraduates. The associate deans and I encourage all CAS faculty to attend. I am investigating opportunities for CAS faculty to have additional time with the speaker; also, the Schools of Business and Nursing are helping co-sponsor the workshop, as time and resources to support this kind of event are limited. It was suggested that those who wish to buy Dr. Nieto’s book in advance of the workshop should do so with professional development funds.
A blessed and happy and healthy New Year 2017 to you and your family and friends!