This summer marks a particularly exciting time for me as I begin my term as the Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. Although a time of transition for the university, the College is operating well and we are all busy in the Dean’s office preparing for the start of an exciting year for our college – a year of faculty-led dialogue to better define us and to establishing priorities and goals for resources and funding initiatives.
As we close the fiscal year this June, we should take the opportunity to reflect on the College’s ongoing and new areas of accomplishment and investment over the past year. Certainly, the 36 newly hired faculty and staff are a good measure of the progress we have made. We continue to refine our short-term academic priorities with regard to hiring in the coming year. Until we have clear direction from our strategic planning, our focus will remain on the enhancement of our student experiences in the classroom, and in support of our research and performance efforts. Our faculty is at the heart of the College’s aspirations and distinguish themselves and The University with their impressive achievements in scholarship and teaching.
Two weeks ago we installed the work of one of our outstanding faculty artists. The work, entitled Life is But A Dream, has been on display around the country and has recently returned to Southern Miss where it is on display in the Liberal Arts building. Professor Jennifer Torres, Art and Design, is the director of our 3D art program and describes the work as inspired from a bedtime story read to her by her mother. She says, “The work represents the positive and satisfying feeling that one gets when everything is moving perfectly in the right direction.” I hope this beautiful work becomes symbolic for our faculty and students as we focus our efforts to move the college forward, “perfectly in the right direction.”