Under the leadership of the Dean, this office provides a voice for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; strives to meet the needs of individual departments and programs; promotes excellence across Arts & Sciences as a whole; and represents the priorities of Arts & Sciences to the larger university community. Kate Conley began her tenure as Dean on July 1, 2012.
The Dean's Office also has four deans who are responsible for day-to-day management of the graduate and undergraduate programs and who serve as the primary administrative liaisons to assigned departments and programs (organizational chart).
Dean Conley has articulated five priorities for the Dean's Office:
- Promote the liberal arts as a core value of American higher education, at which William and Mary excels. Within Arts & Sciences we have a strong internal culture that understands, values, and excels in the liberal arts education. Our educational approach teaches students to think carefully and critically and to make new connections among various kinds of knowledge. The world needs – and values – these abilities of our graduates. And we must continue to perfect how we present the liberal arts to our students.
- Support the curriculum review. The faculty's curriculum review, begun more than a year ago, brings the liberal arts to the center of the curriculum while retaining the classical breadth and depth that are the hallmarks of a liberal arts education. Still a work in progress, the proposed framework has exciting potential to offer the rigor, connections, flexibility, and innovation that is appropriate for our time and for our leadership position at the forefront of the liberal arts education.
- Continue to grow intellectually while retaining approximately the same footprint. Our identity and success are linked to our current size. The exchange of ideas that takes place inside and outside of the classroom is what keeps William and Mary vital. We have strength in the intimacy of our campus and of our educational experience – and retaining our small size does not constrain our potential growth in intellectual capacity.
- Embrace and extend technology that enhances research and teaching. Our faculty have a solid record of embracing technology in their teaching: taking advantage of what's possible, innovating their teaching methods, and improving the learning experience for students. Even as we embrace current technological tools, we seek new developments in technology that can enhance research and teaching. The instructional librarians at Swem Library and the academic technology staff at IT are valued partners in these continuing efforts.
- Support faculty scholarship in every way possible. The high caliber of our Arts & Sciences faculty is the way we attain academic excellence at William and Mary. Moving forward, we must continue to find the resources to hire and retain top faculty – to offer them the competitive salaries and appropriate working conditions, such as regular paid leaves for junior and senior faculty, that will allow us to continue to serve as a unique and inspiring model of higher education.
An important part of the Dean's role takes place off campus, connecting with such external constituencies as alumni, students' families, and grant-funding agencies. The Dean seeks, for example, private support for new initiatives, ways our alumni can continue to play an active role in supporting the mission of Arts & Sciences, and ways to increase our already significant federal support for research.