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