Dean’s Update: May 2017
To: L&S Administration, Chairs, Directors, Associate Chairs and Department Administrators
Congratulations, colleagues! Another academic year is completed. I saw the excitement of thousands of graduates and their families at various department and program celebrations. The Friday night Kohl Center Ph.D. ceremony and the Saturday afternoon Camp Randall graduation events were terrific. For all who helped organize and participate in department/program events recognizing your graduates, thank you! Our dream is to give every L&S graduate the opportunity for individual name recognition at a department-level event. Most of our departments and programs held such events. We broke an attendance record at the “all-L&S” event at the Field House prior to the Camp Randall graduation.
We accomplished a lot this year. You helped provide a wonderful education for the students we serve. We taught over 588,000 credit hours, almost 60 percent of all credit hours taught in the University. You pushed out the boundaries of discovery. One way that we try to tell that story is through our partnership with the Wisconsin State Journal and local sponsors, which produced “Fueling Discovery,” on May 7. Another is through the stories we write and post on www.ls.wisc.edu: Please check back regularly. We aspire to regularly celebrate accomplishments that inspire, delight and amaze. For example, two L&S colleagues, Gregg Mitman and Greg Nemet were named Carnegie Fellows in April. UW-Madison joins 4 other institutions – Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Duke – with two or more of the 35 winners. Trish Devine’s Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab was the topic of an in-depth profile in the Atlantic earlier this month. More big news: Homo Naledi is around 300,000 years old. Also – you know this already – our students are amazing. I can go on and on, hyperlinking, but I hope my point is self-evident. The College is a remarkable place.
We also hired impressive colleagues – 34 faculty – across all three divisions of the College. And we retained colleagues who received offers from some of the finest institutions in the country. We have taken important steps in building a more financially secure future: budgeting is more transparent; we continue to grow summer enrollment and revenue; some large revenue-generating (131) programs are in the planning phase; and there may be opportunities to secure more resources by altering the enrollment mix. You will hear more about all of these in the coming academic year.
Change continues in the College. The departments of History and History of Science officially join together on July 1. The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) will be changing its name to The Information School, or, as we’ll be calling it, the “iSchool.” The Department of Zoology will soon be known as the Department of Integrative Biology and will use the label “iBio.” As Dean, I mourn that I can no longer claim that we have departments “A to Z” (though I can still refer to “majors” from A to Z). But I am thrilled that after years of work, the department formerly known as Zoology has a name that more closely reflects the intellectual diversity of the unit. Finally, Landscape Architecture (in CALS) and Urban and Regional Planning (in L&S) are merging and moving wholly into L&S. We will be working on details in the coming year.
A number of colleagues are making transitions. We wish them the very best as they move on to the next chapter. To single out a few colleagues (as representatives of many), we thank academic staff colleague Mo Fayyez, retiring as Botany’s Greenhouse/Garden director; university staff colleague Terry Nealon, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, who is retiring from UW-Madison after 53 years; and Chun Lin, Professor of Physics, who is retiring from UW-Madison after 48 years. For retirees and those leaving the College, thank you for your contributions.
To all in L&S, I hope you have a wonderful summer. I look forward to seeing you in the Fall. Thank you for all you do to make the College of Letters & Science the heart of our great university.