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Dean Strikwerda's message to Arts and Sciences faculty

The following message was sent to the Arts and Sciences faculty from Dean Carl Strikwerda on Sept. 13, 2009. - Ed.

Dear Colleagues in Arts and Sciences:

Welcome back to a new year of teaching and research, as well as engaging in the life of our academic community as colleagues. I hope your summers were both relaxing and productive in appropriate measure.

As you all know, we are dealing with the effects of an economy in recession.  I will keep you posted on the effects of state budget cuts on Arts & Sciences.

While the news is grim, I assure you that President Reveley, Provost Halleran, and I will work as hard as we can to protect the core of our teaching and research mission while we deal with these cuts.

New Faculty: Please welcome an impressive group of 17 new faculty members to our ranks. They are listed below, including our new senior colleague, Provost Michael Halleran, who is also Professor of Classical Studies.

New Arts & Sciences Governance Awards: I would also like to announce a new set of awards to recognize the hard work which so many of you do in service and governance. The Arts & Sciences Faculty Governance Awards will consist of $2,000 in one-time salary funds or research support given to two faculty members annually, one who has had no more than ten years of service and one who has more than ten years of service. The work that all of you do on committees in departments and programs, Arts & Sciences committees, College committees, and search committees for College units outside of Arts & Sciences, as well as talks given to prospective students, community groups, and alumni, and many other service activities play an essential role in making William and Mary a vital and engaging community. These awards are a small but significant way to honor the work that so many of you do.

New Assistant to the Dean for Arts & Sciences: I also am very pleased to tell you that the search for a new Assistant to the Dean has been successful. Margaret J. Fonner will assume the position of Assistant to the Dean beginning September 25 and work alongside Betty Sandy until Betty's retirement at the end of December, 2009.  Ms. Fonner brings a wealth of experience in budgeting and managing grants and contracts to her new position. She is currently a Sponsored Programs Administrator at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where she has worked since 2000.  Previously, she had worked as a Business Manager at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, a Program Specialist at the National Center for State Courts, and an Administrative Assistant and Management Analyst at Fort Eustis.  She holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Campbell University. Please join me in welcoming Margaret to this important position in Arts & Sciences.

I am very grateful for the hard work of the search committee for this position which considered over 60 applicants. Special thanks go to Dean Laurie Sanderson, who chaired the committee, and to the other members of the committee from Arts & Sciences: Planning Analyst Carol MacVaugh, Physics Department Business Manager Sylvia Stout, and Art History professor Barbara Watkinson. We will be holding a reception in December at which we will have an opportunity to thank Betty for her decades of service to Arts & Sciences and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Congratulations on grants and awards: So many of you are doing such excellent work in getting grants and winning awards that I hesitate to draw attention to anyone in particular. Just as examples of what our colleagues are doing I would like to offer special congratulations to Larry Leemis of Mathematics and Bob Noonan of Computer Science who won a $600,000 SCORE grant from the National Science Foundation to support graduate studies in our Computational and Operations Research program and to Todd Averett and Keith Griffioen of Physics who won a $389,000 grant, also from NSF, for high energy research at Jefferson Laboratory.  

The latter project has been continuously funded since 1996, one of our most impressive long-run records in research. Sal Saporito of Sociology, in partnership with Stuart Hamilton of our new Center for Geospatial Analysis, has just won a $1 million grant from NSF to create what will be the nation's largest database of school district boundaries, an invaluable tool for researchers on a host of major issues in education and sociology. Adam Potkay, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, was the co-winner last spring of the Harry Levin Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association for the best book published in literary history and literary criticism during 2007 and 2008. Congratulations to all of these colleagues, and to so many of you who continue to make William and Mary an institution of inspiring academic excellence.

Development Report: The tough times which the College is experiencing because of the recession and state budget cuts makes it all the more gratifying that Art & Sciences, like the College, has benefitted from the generosity of our donors, many of whom are alumni. Andrew Barry, Executive Director of Development for Arts & Sciences, reports that our total fundraising for 2008-09, was $6,445,070. While this was slightly less than the total in 2007-08, it was 22.4 percent above that of 2006-07.  Given our current needs, it is especially important that expendable fundraising for Arts & Sciences (overall) increased 83.6%: from $2,391,570 (FY '08) to $4,391,014 (FY '09).  Donors increased from 932 (FY '08) to 1139 (FY '09).  In addition, over the last three years, as of June 30, 2009, we've received over $6.5 million for faculty-mentored undergraduate and graduate student research initiatives.

Thank you. Finally, thank you for your dedication to Arts & Sciences, the College community, and the cause of higher education. Your work as teachers and scholars is exemplary. Talking to parents of our graduating students reminds me time and time again how much you as faculty members define the College of William and Mary. Our alumni are justly proud of the education which they received here, and after meeting you, have told me how impressed they are that the high standards and commitment which they experienced at the College are stronger than ever.

 If you have concerns, questions, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at or the Faculty Affairs Committee at Best wishes for the academic year ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Carl Strikwerda


Jonathan Allen
Matthias Leu

Jonathan Scheerer

Classical Studies
Michael Halleran

Daifeng He
Peter McHenry

Nicholas Popper

Modern Languages and Literatures
Roy Chan
Nicolas Médevielle
John Riofrio
Jorge Terukina

Max Katz

Elizabeth Radcliffe
Neal Tognazzini

Brent Kaup
Amy Quark

Theatre, Speech, and Dance
Matthew Allar