College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors - Message from the Director
It has been an honor and pleasure to assume the responsibilities as chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors in the fall of 2008. It seems like only yesterday that we launched the work of this important leadership group in support of the College. When I look back and realize that it was the fall of 2005, it simply seems amazing how quickly the time has gone and how much we have accomplished already.
Central to this unique responsibility in support of Fairfield is the chance that it has provided Board members to engage in a regular and consistent manner with Dean Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D. and members of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. Many of us have fond memories of our days pursuing coursework in the College either as part of the core curriculum requirement or as an integral component of our major area of emphasis. What our membership on the Board has provided is a unique view into the world of Fairfield today. We have learned that much of the richness of a Fairfield education is consistent with what we remember, but so much has also changed. We have been on a journey of discovery that includes:
- Understanding the rich and varied research agendas of the faculty and how they are impacting the education of the students
- Realizing what it means to develop students who can engage as global citizens with a deep appreciation for the world
- Appreciating the potential of service learning and how this educational approach is transforming how students understand the application of the academic discipline in the field
Our focus as a Board has now transitioned to an emphasis on global citizenship and how a Fairfield education is advancing this objective for the students. In addition, we are working on exciting projects that are focusing on the environmental program at Fairfield which is being lead by a new faculty member, Dr. David Downie, director of the Program on the Environment and an associate professor of political science. His research focuses on the creation, content, and implementation of national and international environmental policy. In a recent presentation on the topic by one of the College's students, Alexandra Gross, Class of 2009, Editor of The Mirror, Board members were provided with detailed insight into what it is like to be a student with an academic interest in the environment. Dr. Downie has encouraged Alexandra to take her independent study research and compose a book for publication. Students like Alexandra are an inspiration to all of us to continue the great work of the College.
The members of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Advisors are also working on a special project that involves a new online community. Using Angel, the online course platform utilized by faculty, a new interactive website has been created where Dean Crabtree and members of the Board can engage in threaded discussions, review current articles and related materials, and post ideas and information of interest. The goal is to increase engagement of the Board members in between our three regularly scheduled meetings each year. If it is successful, the University is considering utilizing this kind of an online community with the other advisory boards and councils at Fairfield. A special core stories project is part of the online experience in which Board members have been asked to reflect on the experience of the core and how it has informed their personal and professional lives over the years.
As we look to the future, the College of Arts and Sciences is seeking financial support to endow three areas of future growth, including:
- The Core Curriculum with an emphasis on faculty and curricular innovation
- Global Citizenship targeting student learning and faculty research
- A science institute which will support faculty research and equipment acquisition.
I encourage you to inquire about these important initiatives should they be of interest.
There is so much exciting work underway and I am thrilled to be an integral part of the College today. I invite you to send me your questions and ideas so that I can share them with Dean Crabtree and other members of the Board. I can be reached by e-mail.
Susan Alexander '78