New College of Liberal Arts dean speaks at CLA convocation

Claire-Elise Baalke/Sun Star Reporter
September 25, 2012

The College of Liberal Arts Convocation was held Thursday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. in Charles Davis Concert Hall. Todd Sherman is the new dean of the CLA and he says he wants students to, “be creative, be innovative.” With 1,500 students, 150 staff members, 22 departments and offers over 40 degrees the College of Liberal Arts is one of the largest and most diverse colleges in the whole university.

Todd Sherman, the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts, speaks at CLA convocation. Sept. 20, 2012. JR Ancheta/Sun Star

Those represented at the convocation were only a small minority of the actual population of the liberal arts college, and Sherman wants to increase those numbers,”through actions we already do: quality teaching, competent and friendly advising, and improved and diverse delivery methods of teaching.” With seventy percent of UAF’s 70 baccalaureates the college has a great head start.

Most of Shermans speech was on enlivening the existing community of the college and collaborating with other departments. In Sherman’s presentation he introduced alterations include the new department E-learning which is meant to put more courses online for students so as to expand the college to not only students on-campus, but all over Alaska; spreading opportunity.

There was positive feedback from both students and staff after the convocation which started with a bang, literally. The proceedings were introduced with a musical composition performed by UAF’s wind ensemble, and ending with a reception of light-hearted chatter and cookies.

During the proceedings new faculty in each department were introduced. Beth Leonard is now a staff member in the center of cross-cultural studies. Alaska Legislature members Senator Joe Thomas and Representative David Guttenberg attended the ceremony to award a proclamation from the state supporting the film program, with a promise to proceed to offer benefits to Alaska Film projects, to Maya Salganek, UAF’s Assistant Professor of Digital Performance Media.

Reactions to the new dean were very hopeful as well, according to Mary Kerhahn-Stark, National Science Foundation International Polar Year Grant documenting native languages, “This dean is going to offer some steady and sure passage through this period and time, this run of disruptionwhen we need a steady, calm leader who can assist us,” Stark said. Everyone was very approving and supportive of the new dean, Beth Leonard called him, “funny and informative.” Even some suggestions for improvements were shot out. “It would be nice to see more emphasis on cross-cultural studies.” said David Kreiss-Tomkin, a northern studies student.

CLA has a bright future and its progress displays much of UAF’s real character.

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