Welcome from Antonio Cepeda-Benito, Dean of UVM’s College of Arts and Sciences

Antonio Cepeda-BenitoWelcome back! We are half way through the academic year and the “train” is moving at full throttle, gaining ground steadily at a good pace.

In the fall 2012 semester, 4,883 undergraduate and 209 graduate CAS students were deeply engaged in learning from our 381 full- (316) and part-time (65) faculty. The semester culminated with a well-attended commencement ceremony that conferred 304 bachelor and 29 graduate degrees from CAS.  (I do not know yet how these alumni are doing, but, projecting from past trends, about 283 will be gainfully employed, 31 will be pursuing postgraduate degrees, and about 19 may still be looking for a job by next December.)  In the college we are committed to enhancing the learning experience of our students, but also their future success and contributions to society. To this effect, we are moving forward with a comprehensive plan to enhance our advising practices so that students make sound and purposeful decisions in choosing their courses and planning their career paths. Stay tuned for an update in our next issue.

In the November 2012 eNEWS issue I introduced you to a new curricular initiative I called Enhancing Excellence through Interdisciplinary Experiential Engagement (IEE). The results are in! The selection committee received nine proposals and four were approved for funding. The IEE initiative was offered not only to our committed teacher scholars, but our faculty could partner with faculty outside CAS to take full advantage of the great breadth of resources that UVM provides as a major research university. Over a few years, the courses funded by this program will give hundreds of undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in amazing, hands-on learning activities, from looking at cancer cells under the microscope and putting together a plan of treatment for a cancer patient, to working side by side with faculty developing geo-visualization and geographic information systems (GIS) pedagogical activities, to interacting with community leaders in rural environments to provide them with solutions so that native ecosystems in Vermont will be sustained.  IEE projects will inspire students to commit to lifelong learning and to prepare them to solve problems not yet imagined.

This last fall we were also engaged in drafting a new Mission Statement, as a first step that will guide us in the development of a new strategic plan that will set priorities, bench marks and target goals, as well as a time line for the near and long-term success of the college. 

Our Mission . . .

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Vermont welcomes difference, values collaboration, encourages debate, and stands for integrity, service, and academic excellence. We are dedicated to the rigorous pursuit, understanding, and dissemination of knowledge through the process of discovery, the creation of art, and the practice of teaching. We provide an integrated and engaging multidisciplinary experience that generates creativity, critical thought, effective communication, and a practiced commitment to serve the pressing needs of society and the natural world.

The current eNEWS issue is full of interesting stories, which I hope you will enjoy. Please know that we appreciate enormously the support and encouragement we receive from you. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas you may have for a better UVM!