By Stacey Robertson
Reflecting on my nearly 18 months as the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, I am proud of our progress. We have raised our profile, reconnected with our alumni, and initiated new events – such as our Celebrating the Arts and Humanities Series – and new programs – such as our nationally ranked Online Professional and Creative Writing degree.
Even as we ponder the past, we continue to look forward. We are never complacent. We do not rest on our laurels. There is still so much that needs to be done. We unabashedly contend that a liberal arts education prepares our students for success in a fast-changing, always-on, lifelong-learning digital society. Just as important a liberal arts education guides students toward wholehearted living.
We embrace the upward-to-the-right design of our futuristic Department of Music building to market our college as the “LaunchPad to Your Future.” Our vision is to prepare our students for future challenges, nurturing their creativity and stimulating their talent.
“Internationally recognized for its dynamic and innovative departments and programs, the Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities offers meaningful, personalized mentorship, an inclusive curriculum, and a strong blend of hands-on classroom, and professional opportunities, intended to prepare our students for success in the global marketplace and life.”
Just as market equities are forward-looking indicators of anticipated performance, we believe that our 1,400 undergraduate and 80 graduate students — guided by our 150 outstanding faculty and assisted by our well-networked alumni – will be key barometers of our success.
Last April, we invited a small group of CAH alums – several were either first-generation graduates or non-traditional students — to come back and spend a day with us on campus. They all expressed a profound appreciation for their CWU education, reminiscing about lifelong friendships, mesmerizing mentors, and transformative challenges.
I was immediately struck by the grit and resilience each alum exhibited. It occurred to me these two characteristics continue to exemplify our students. Familiar with hard work and high achievement, our students understand the value of education. They do not take it for granted.
Each of our visiting alums volunteered to participate in our pilot Mentorship program, providing guidance, advice and support to a current student. We aim to expand this program to include many more alums, partnering them with our eager students. Mentorship is one of our highest priorities as a college.
Our Strategic Priorities
- Mentorship is prioritized across our college, assisting students in making the transition from student life to the professional world. Our well-placed alums play a decisive role in helping students attain entry-level positions and build a prosperous careers.
- We are strategically promoting and enhancing our curriculum, including interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Looking westward across the Pacific and around the world, we recognize that our curriculum must be inclusive and diverse.
- A never-ending task is to improve our visibility: locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally.
- Our alumni are not just our past – familiar faces that proudly marched up to the podium in their caps and gowns, eventually moving their tassels from right-to-left. They are our present, and most important, our future.
- Our scholarship and creative expression are central to who we are as a community. They foster our intellectual and aesthetic understanding of the world and enhance our teaching.
My Predecessor, My Mentor, My Friend
I would like to conclude this final blog of the 2015-16 academic year with a “shout-out” to my predecessor Marji Morgan, who served as our dean for nine years.
Just as my door is always open for those interested in the future of our college, Marji has always been there to assist me, our faculty, and our 20 dedicated staff members. Besides both of us serving as dean, we hail from the same discipline, History. There is literally no subject that we can’t talk about with full candor and refreshing humor.
Marji once again exhibited her team-player attitude by serving as the interim chair of our Communication Department. She will continue in this role next year.
We are absolutely delighted about the coming year. It will feature a new Celebrating the Arts and Humanities Series, a dynamic fresh logo, a strategic marketing approach, innovative programs, and of course, a new contingent of outstanding Arts and Humanities students.
Upwards and onwards to the future!