March 2013 Archives
13 March 2013
Dear Alumni and Friends,
Because of your relationship to the college, I wanted to share with you my decision to step down as dean of the College of Liberal Arts in order to resume scholarship and teaching in my home department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch. I will make this transition on 30 June 2013.
Over the past thirteen years it has been an honor and privilege to serve, first as associate dean of faculty and research, then interim dean, and finally as dean of our great college -- Minnesota's largest, and the leading college of this distinguished University. I have enjoyed my work and meeting its many challenges.
I am proud of what we achieved, and invite you to be too, because the support of our 130,000 alumni and friends is essential to CLA's success.
Our faculty are national and international leaders across many disciplines. Our top graduate programs successfully recruit the most outstanding students from across the globe, and, contrary to what you may read in the news, 93 percent of them find jobs. Challenges to the value of a liberal arts education notwithstanding, thousands of highly talented undergraduate applicants zealously compete for admission to our college, and they also go on to find subsequent employment. They exemplify the unassailable role of the liberal arts in advancing the well-being of society.
We were also able to renovate historic Folwell Hall and other research and educational spaces. Last fall we introduced a common first-year experience for undergraduates. We are launching a human rights initiative, and a newly conceived interdisciplinary introduction to the humanities for undergraduates.
The project of a university is never completely concluded; indeed, from that very fact springs its vitality. I leave the deanship knowing that CLA is well positioned to build on its strengths.
Among those strengths I count your support. My colleagues and I place more value than you may realize on the many things you do to support our faculty and students, and enable their outstanding accomplishments. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your interest in our activities, your volunteer and financial support, your staying in touch via our publications and emails, your advocacy for the college, your belief in the liberal arts. You help connect us to the community we serve.
I look forward to continuing to support our college and University as a faculty member, and working to ensure our college's reputation as a national leader for innovative research, teaching, and outreach.
Thank you again for your support -- past and future -- of CLA. Your help has contributed to the lasting greatness of our distinguished college.
James A. Parente, Jr.
13 March 2013
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
I am writing to inform you of my intention to step down from my current position as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts on 30 June 2013. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as interim dean and then dean of our great college, and I have enjoyed my work since August 2000 when I first left my home department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch to become CLA's Associate Dean for Faculty and Research.
I am proud of the achievements of the faculty, staff, and students of our great college. Our faculty are national and international leaders across many disciplines, our top graduate programs are competitive for the most outstanding students from across the globe, and thousands of highly talented undergraduate applicants zealously compete for admission to our college. The creativity of our faculty, staff, and students is truly amazing; we well exemplify the unassailable role of the liberal arts in advancing the continued well-being of our society.
Despite budgetary challenges of recent years, we have had the opportunity to continue to recruit outstanding faculty and staff, to initiate the implementation of a collegiate plan for 2015 and beyond, and to secure funds to effect much needed renovations of our research and educational spaces, most notably the renovation of historic Folwell Hall. We have strengthened undergraduate education through the introduction of a common first-year experience, and we have been able to direct funds to graduate education to recruit the most talented students to Minnesota. There are emerging initiatives underway in human rights and in the creation of interdisciplinary introductions to the humanities for undergraduates. The project of a university is never completely concluded, but the college is well positioned to continue to build on established strengths and to support the signature interdisciplinary work that is a hallmark of CLA's distinction.
I am grateful for the support that the many faculty, staff, and students with whom I have worked since joining the college's administration thirteen years ago. It has been a privilege to serve with the associate deans, collegiate directors, and department chairs who have devoted themselves generously to the advancement of the college. None of the achievements of the last six years would have been possible without their commitment and wise counsel. I deeply appreciate our staff, whose work makes academic learning and discovery possible, and who are essential to ensuring the success of departments and the college. I am also grateful for the support that our college has received from the Central Administration and President Kaler, and to Provost Hanson for honoring my request to return to the faculty. I look forward to continuing to support our college and University as a faculty member, and to working to ensure our college's reputation as a national leader for innovative research, teaching, and outreach.
Thank you so much for your support of the College of Liberal Arts, and for this opportunity to serve as dean of the leading college of this distinguished University.
James A. Parente, Jr.
Professor of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch
In a concert Sunday at the University of Minnesota's Ted Mann Concert Hall, Downs celebrated the life, art and career of her father, who died years before she launched her career. He taught for more than 20 years and started the university's first international study program, Winter Quarter in Mexico, for art students.