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George Watson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, delivers his annual "State of the College" address on Sept. 11, 2013, in the Roselle Center for the Arts.
In his 2013 State of the College
address, George Watson, dean of the University of Delaware's College of
Arts and Sciences, discussed goals and priorities, with special emphasis
on what he referred to as "the Delaware difference."
His first example of this difference was the opening of the new
Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab), and the
DuPont Interdisciplinary Learning Laboratories, in particular.
"While the building has taken four years to design and build, the
signature first-year integrated science curriculum' developed by John
Jungck and a faculty team across several science departments represents
the culmination of 20-some years of faculty work on transforming
undergraduate education through problem-based learning practices," said
The dean also thanked the CAS faculty members for their leadership
and commitment to realizing this vision of engaged student learning.
While noting that pressing facility needs related to science
instruction and research still remain to be addressed, he then outlined
briefly the work that is underway currently in planning a new
interdisciplinary social sciences building.
To be sited next to the University of Delaware Library, he called
this building "a major focus" of the college's current development
effort, adding it "will help facilitate the sorts of cross-disciplinary
collaborations to address the grand challenges and great debates' of our time about which [UD's new] Provost [Domenico] Grasso has written and spoken."
Watson also noted how the arts, humanities and social sciences
contribute in critical ways to "the Delaware difference" and invited the
faculty and staff in the audience to help the college envision new ways
of leveraging interdisciplinary partnerships and enhancing public
engagement and community outreach activities.
"We often talk about how we change students' lives' through our teaching," he said. "But we also change our community.'"
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College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff members gather for the annual talk.
The arts, Watson noted, make a "critically important contribution" to the
cultural life of this community and the state, bringing "many community
members to our campus for outstanding performances and exhibitions."
Watson highlighted events like the Saturday Symposium series, the history department's Emancipation Semester programming, and the "Earth Perfect?" conference this past June for bringing UD alumni back to campus and leveraging new partnerships with cultural institutions in the area.
The School of Public Policy and Administration's pilot project to
catalog its community engagement activities has helped "develop UD's
confidence" to pursue Carnegie Engaged University status this year, he
He also cited associate professor Yassar Payne's participatory action
research project in Eastside and Southbridge, which "not only engages
community members in research but opens them up to career and education
"Many members of CAS make such a Delaware Difference, said Watson, adding, "Our work in these arenas is important and valued."
Watson's address was preceded by remarks from Grasso, whose long tenure at Smith College, renowned for its liberal
arts education, made him feel "at home" in the "oldest and largest of
UD's seven colleges."
"In a world that's changing as rapidly as ours, we have an obligation
to ensure that our students can think broadly across disciplines and
consider the human dimensions at the heart of the grand challenges of
our day," said Grasso. "That is the hallmark of a liberal arts
education," he said, adding, "And it's the very foundation every UD
The annual State of the College event concluded with Watson
introducing the 10 new members of the college faculty, two post-doctoral
fellows in the Center for the Study of Diversity, six preceptors for
the ISE Lab and new staff hires and interim appointments in the