After a year as Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities, what are my thoughts? How did I manage my first year?
For one, I came in the job with much enthusiasm and the desire to advocate for the Arts and Humanities. That enthusiasm remains, but mitigated by the basic reality of the job, and by the complexity of the interactions that govern the day-to-day operations of a large organization where different agendas compete with one another. I believe I have advocated well for the Arts and Humanities within the College and the University, but also beyond. I organized the 5-lecture series on “Why the Humanities Matter in the 21st Century” for CU on the Weekend and Continuing Education. With the help of the Dean, we disbursed the first Outreach and Inclusivity grants, which distributed funds to departments and programs to promote the Arts and Humanities beyond the college, within the communities. And we had the first Arts on the Green event in conjunction with the Conference on World Affairs. The university has also joined the National Humanities Alliance and the Imagining America consortium, which promotes the ties between the Arts and Humanities and public engagement. We will see how our membership can help the Arts and Humanities on this campus in the years to come.
On a personal level, I have given lectures on the Western Slope both to the public and to pre-collegiate, underrepresented groups of students; I have welcomed high school students from the Denver Public Schools, and organized with our admissions’ offices the first Focus Friday dedicated specifically to prospective students wishing to pursue college degrees in the Arts and the Humanities; I have also delivered numerous presentations to visiting high school students throughout the year. As I enter the second year, the biggest challenge we have in the Arts and Humanities is to find common ground in the Division, and work as a team to reach the goals we want to achieve. This is very difficult because the idea that we are in a crisis often leads to isolation and to protect one’s own areas of interest first, before we can help others. Without teamwork, however, it will be difficult to find the cooperative energy that might lead us to find solutions that enhance our status on campus and in the community.