Old news: there's another new CLA dean

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
September 18, 2012

In the last six years, the College of Liberal Arts at UAF has had on average about one dean a year.  Todd Sherman has been an art teacher at UAF for many years, and took over as the new dean of CLA in late August following interim dean Anita Hartman.

Sherman earned his bachelor’s degree from UAF in 1979, and started teaching in the art department as an adjunct professor in 1986.  He’s been a full time professor of art at UAF since 2007.  Additionally, Sherman is the founder and director of the UAF Visual Arts Academy.

Sherman’s appointment is for two years.  If he does well, he’ll probably be around for longer.

The transitory head position of the largest college at UAF has definitely made an impact on everyone, according to Sherman.  Every dean has a different list of projects they want to tackle, and when the deans change every semester or year, support for different projects gets thrown around and taken back again.  “It might add to confusion that doesn’t need to be there,” Sherman said.

The College of Liberal Arts offers 24 majors and has approximately 150 staff.  Every undergraduate student at UAF takes classes from CLA, due to the core class requirements.  Having a dean that’s around longer than six months is important, and hopefully Sherman will be that guy.

Since Sherman took over in August, he hasn’t undertaken any major plans for CLA.  At the moment, he wants to concentrate on increasing collaboration with other parts of the university and raise the profile of CLA.  “We’re the human dimension,” Sherman said.

Personally, I’d like to see CLA reexamine some of the core class requirements.  Luckily, this seems like it’s on the agenda, according to Sherman.  The plan is still in the early stages, but future UAF students might have a menu of classes to choose from rather than being required to take specific english and history classes.

What I’d like to see happen with CLA is what Sherman plans on concentrating on: increasing collaboration with other parts of UAF.  In general, there should be more communication and collaboration between the different colleges and departments at UAF.

It might be easier for CLA to achieve this goal if the dean sticks around for a little while.  For some reason, the position of Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UAF has been as challenging to fill as the spot for the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts.  If you’re keeping track, we’re on dean number six in year number six, which makes Sherman UAF’s equivalent to Professor Snape.

I’m not comparing the two by any means, but it’s comforting to remember that in the end Snape had Harry’s best interests at heart.  With Sherman’s background as a dedicated art professor, it seems like he probably has the students best interests at heart as well.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *