In a recent gathering of College faculty at a training on interacting with the news media, I thanked those in attendance for picking up the phone when a reporter from the New York Times calls their office. Academia is not traditionally a place where outreach to the public is respected, and it’s not always easy for professors to put their work on the line in a public setting.
Here in CLAS, we work hard to combat that perception, and our faculty are exceptionally effective at communicating about their work. In a world where public opinion is constantly shifting, I’m proud of our faculty’s accomplishments in the public sphere.
Indeed, public research, scholarship, and recognition has been a major theme for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences this year. Our faculty appeared in more than 300 national and international news outlets, speaking about their research and scholarship, and commenting on such timely topics as immigration, climate change, and racial politics. We had a banner year for research grants, receiving more than $60 million in external grants across our divisions of humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
We also celebrated the opening of a new Department of Geosciences. The Department had operated as the Center for Integrative Geosciences since 2004, and the forward momentum of its faculty and students propelled them to recognition as a full-fledged department by the UConn Board of Trustees in January 2019. This reorganization comes with a refreshed curriculum in Earth sciences that gives our students a new pathway to a rigorous STEM education. I very much look forward to the successes of this new department.
Finally, it is with a wistful yet proud feeling that I will step down as Interim Dean of the College in July 2019, and return to my research in sociology and human rights. I have truly enjoyed the distinct honor and privilege of leading the College for more than two years, and have been especially lucky to meet so many of our biggest allies and supporters among our alumni and friends. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for playing your part in making our College the vibrant heart of UConn. Please join me in welcoming Professor Juli Wade of Michigan State University as our new Dean in the summer of 2019.
With warm regards,
Davita Silfen Glasberg
Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (February 2017 – July 2019)
Professor of Sociology