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.