A message from Dean Andrea Talentino
This will be my last message as dean, and as I write my mind is going back over all that we have accomplished, both in this fall semester and the semesters that preceded it. Many thanks to all who have helped make CoLA such an incredible place. As I have said before, this is the most dedicated faculty I have ever worked with. The staff and alumni are equally dedicated, and that collective effort is evident in all the activities that have been discussed in these pages. Over the last few years we have established two centers, two different and complementary mentoring programs, conducted numerous workshops and symposia, including Colby and CSI, hosted many, many speakers, established the Creative Writers Series and International Visitor Series, and opened up amazing opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom. Student and faculty research opportunities have increased, co-curricular programming is very active, and faculty are doing, as always, extraordinary and dedicated work for students. It has been a great privilege to be here with all of you, and I look forward to seeing what you do next.
We have several notable highlights this fall, including the opening of the Center for Writing. We have eight peer coaches serving as tutors, and they are very proud to be serving the student body in this way. They report both great success and a large personal learning curve, but every single one is excited to continue on in the spring semester. Use was very good for the first semester, with 513 appointments booked, and it has been running at 100 percent the last two weeks as everyone prepares for finals. Over 80 percent of students who visited rated their appointment as excellent or very good, and we are seeing many return customers. Overall use was approximately 70 percent of possible appointments, and the staff has plans to increase that in the spring.
The Peace and War Center fielded a team in the Peer to Peer: Challenging Extremism project, an international competition in which university students develop and execute campaigns and social media strategies against extremism. The project is sponsored by the Department of State and Facebook, and includes teams from every region of the world. We are awaiting final word on the competition results as I write, but regardless of where we finish, this was a wonderful project and these students did great work! They have done Norwich proud!
As always, CoLA was well represented at the Faculty Scholarship Awards Dinner in December. Of the 43 publications honored, 25 were authored by CoLA faculty, including two books, two book chapters, numerous poems and plays, and several journal articles. Congratulations to all recognized, and thank you for your continued research and creative work! The vibrancy of our teaching is in part connected to this work, and it is also inspirational to students looking to engage in independent research.
Kudos to Amy Woodbury Tease for hosting an incredibly successful Students to Scholars: NU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Now in its fifth year, this program, along with undergraduate research more broadly, has helped build critical and creative thinking and spark engagement among our students. All of the events were well attended, and the quality of student questions and discussions was at a high level. Congratulations to all the students, both presenters and attendees, and Amy, for creating such a stimulating and enjoyable event.
Finally, I want to extend my thanks to the CoLA faculty for their work over the last year in revising our BA requirements. This was not an easy task, and led to many difficult and at times contentious conversations. Whenever changes are made to core requirements, interests are threatened and uncertainties rise. But in this process the CoLA faculty showed their excellence once again. We handled the difficult conversations and made some important changes that will make the curriculum more sensible for students and open up room for creative new programming, both within and across departments. This was a huge accomplishment. Thank you to all members of the college, particularly the members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Revise BA Requirements: Kevin Fleming (PY-ED), Kathleen McDonald (EN-CM), Stan Shernock (SJSS), and David Ward (ML), and the chair, Michael Andrew (HI-PO). Michael’s calm demeanor and steady hand were critical in this endeavor, and he deserves special recognition.
Best wishes to all for a fantastic New Year, and continued success in 2017.