Welcome to the Fall Semester - Dean Conley

Dean Kate ConleyDear Colleagues,

This will be my first academic year as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and I'd like to take this opportunity to consider some of the tasks before us and to give you a sense of how I see those tasks being guided by our combined vision for the liberal arts.

First I'd like to acknowledge and appreciate your extraordinary work as scholars and teachers. Serving as your Dean is a privilege, and I am mindful that my leadership will build on the work of those who came before me, as well as the contributions you make every day throughyour own work. Meeting your representatives at my first interview was what convinced me I would love to work at William and Mary.

Let me also thank the Provost, Michael Halleran, and my predecessor as Dean, Gene Tracy, along with my deanly colleagues in Ewell Hall and staff members in the Dean's Office for their warm and helpful welcome. Everyone has been a tremendous help orienting me to the campus and to Arts and Sciences.

This summer saw two appointments in the administrative leadership: John Griffin (Biology, Neuroscience) succeeded Kelly Joyce (Sociology) as Dean of Undergraduate Studies; and John Swaddle (Biology, Environmental Science and Policy) became Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, succeeding Laurie Sanderson (Biology). We also welcome Rowan Lockwood (Geology) as the new faculty director of Academic Advising. Laurie and Kelly contributed vision and energy to their work in administration, and I am grateful to them for their generosity in explaining their understanding of Arts and Sciences before their departure. John and John have been very quick to step activelyinto their new roles, and I appreciate their dedication, along with the on-going service of Teresa Longo and Joel Schwartz.

This year, and in the years to come, I intend to support the liberal arts vision of William and Mary and, to the best extent possible, fully realize its potential for our faculty and students. I also want to support our faculty and help you develop as scholars and teachers.

Two major tasks before us speak to both of those areas. This coming year we continue the Curriculum Review, moving toward affirmation of the design, possibly in the late fall, by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In September and October the steering committee members plan to visit departments and programs for a closer discussion of how faculty in these academic units can imagine their courses and creative energy in relation to the proposed framework. At the same time, the committee is continuing to meet across campus to pursue linkages that fit into the proposed curriculum (in particular with the Reves Center and Swem Library). They are also assessing what existing resources can be aligned to support the new curriculum, and developing a preliminary "business plan" that takes an early look at the considerations and potential costs of implementation.

I believe the proposed curriculum better captures the level of creative and intellectual collaboration and energy that is already taking place than does the current curriculum, and that it better reflects what is actually happening inside and outside of the classrooms at William and Mary. We are much further along in this area than other institutions and currently stand at the forefront of a national conversation about renewing college curricula. This is an exciting time, and a chance to engage all of our faculty, especially our many younger faculty who did not have a voice in the previous review. I look forward to the continuing faculty conversation.

Also this year we are launching the faculty Merit Review, which will follow a course similar to that of the curriculum review. I will be working with our Faculty Affairs Committee to appoint committee members to steer this faculty conversation. Once again I thank Gene Tracy for his work in getting this conversation started. With this committee, we are looking at the very important question of "what gets counted" in evaluating merit for faculty performance reviews. While the current budget situation has to some extent de-linked merit from salary increases, this will not always be the case, and we remain strongly supportive of evaluating merit and encouraging excellence across the faculty as a whole.

We also have a working group on Non-Tenure Eligible (NTE) faculty, and continuing questions of how we can pursue excellence and growth through creative approaches rather than expansion.

Part of our work as faculty members involves choosing and mentoring our next generation of scholar-teachers. In that regard I'm very pleased to announce the new tenure-eligible faculty who begin their work in 2012-13. Our faculty are well aware of the great care that goes into these hires, and the vitality their fresh perspectives bring to our community. On September 4, the following new colleagues were introduced formally at the FAS meeting and welcomed informally at the reception following:

Ahmad Atif Ahmad (Religious Studies)
Ph.D., Harvard

Anne L. Blazer (Religious Studies)
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Alan Braddock (Art and Art History, American Studies)
Ph.D., University of Delaware

Harmony J. Dalgleish (Biology)
Ph.D., Kansas State University

Matthew R. Hilimire (Psychology)
Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

Jennifer G. Kahn (Anthropology)
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Lance C. Kent (Economics)
Ph.D., Northwestern University

Michelle A. Lelièvre (Anthropology, American Studies)
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Stephanie L. Lunden (English)
University of California at Santa Cruz

William R. McNamara (Chemistry)
Ph.D., Yale University

Matthew W. Mosca (History)
Harvard University

Neil L. Norman (Anthropology)
University of Virginia

Andreja Novakovic (Philosophy)
Ph.D., Columbia University

Fabricio P. Prado (History)
Emory University

Nicholas J. Sanders (Economics)
Ph.D., University of California at Davis

Alison J. Scott (Kinesiology and Health Sciences)
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Jaime E. Settle (Government)
 Ph.D., University of California at San Diego

Cristina Stancioiu (Art & Art History)
Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles

Anke van Zuijlen (Mathematics)
Ph.D., Cornell University

Best wishes for the fall semester,

 

Kate Conley
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences