As I reflect on the 2020-21 year and the many challenges it brought, the thought that keeps coming to me is: I am grateful to have thoughtful, innovative and dedicated colleagues. In the face of many obstacles brought upon us by COVID-19, Black Lives Matter protests, a heated national election and other stressful events, the faculty, staff and students of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities reminded me why we persist: for people.
That persistence has paid off. In the past year, we have seen success across the college. For instance:
- We received approval to offer a new master's degree program in Themed Experience, a minor in Applied Linguistics and certificates in Interfaith Dialogue, Brazilian Studies and Russian as a Critical Language.
- We welcomed speakers like Tayari Jones, April Baker-Bell, Guy Raffa and Danez Smith to our virtual campus.
- We hosted a speaker series featuring arts and humanities faculty researchers.
- One faculty member became a nationally syndicated columnist, another had his novel reviewed by the NY Times Book Review and one was awarded the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art.
- We were even able to bring back UCF Celebrates the Arts — in person!
This year also marked the end of my first five-year term as dean of this college. I am pleased to report that the College of Arts and Humanities has made significant progress toward our goals over the last five years. Our students are achieving ever-higher levels of success, measured by our four-year graduation and retention rates. We have experienced record levels of fundraising and our plans for Phase Two of the Performing Arts Center have progressed to the point of hiring an architect for design. Research continues to grow, with this last year being the second highest award year in college history — during a pandemic, no less! Community-facing events and partnerships are flourishing. I am proud of the work we have accomplished and excited to continue in this role for a second term.
It is my wish that as we move forward, we remember the lessons we have learned this past year and incorporate them into our new routines. We have found new efficiencies, forged new relationships, and embraced new technologies. Let's take the best of what we’ve experienced and add it to the best of what we've always done, and above all, continue to take care of people.
Dean, UCF College of Arts and Humanities