Greetings! I want to share with the Creative Infrastructure community this month’s “Letter from the Dean,” (i.e., me) as it connects with many of the themes of the blog.
Dear Arts & Letters Community:
As this newsletter hits your inbox on March 12, hundreds of advocates are on Capitol Hill in Washington DC visiting with their state representatives to talk to them about the value of the humanities and the impact humanities-based activities have on communities. The College of Arts & Letters is marking this day with a big celebration of all things humanities and arts! One of the goals of the advocates in DC is to erase misconceptions about the humanities and make humanities work visible. That is exactly what we’re doing on campus today. Each college department has a table or booth where they are sharing information about study in the humanities and about the professional pathways for which such study prepares you. Some departments are showcasing the public practice of their work in unique and exciting ways. The brand-new BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is working with a community-based artist to run silk-screen prints and make and distribute buttons to celebrate Women’s History Month. The Department of Philosophy will have logic puzzles and games available and an “ask a philosopher” booth. Chair of the Department of English, Linda Greenberg, has designed an exciting Humanities Scavenger Hunt. Our professional student success (i.e., “advising”) team will be on hand to answer any questions students may have about Arts & Letters courses and help you register for an array of summer courses.
While all this activity is happening along the main campus walkway, the State Playhouse features a reading by LA’s poet laureate Robin Coste Lewis at 11:00 AM; later in the day there is a Forensics demonstration by our award-winning and nationally ranked Golden Eagle Forensics Speech & Debate team, a philosophy debate on “Morality for Machines,” a concert by the Villiers Quartet, and an open mic poetry event to close out the evening. In these and other ways, we make the humanities visible.
One of the misconceptions about the humanities is that humanities majors don’t lead to good employment outcomes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As I’ve noted in this newsletter before, the top three learning outcomes CEOs and hiring managers expect from college grads are: oral communication, ethical decision making, and written communication. Our departments of Communication Studies, English, Liberal Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Philosophy deliver these three outcomes not just by way of general education, but with the disciplinary depth needed to really master these outcomes. Our arts majors also support those outcomes, along with # 4 on the CEO and hiring managers’ list: the ability to work in teams. The pathways for success are clear: our students go on to be teachers, lawyers, public relations professionals, translators, writers, artists and more!
If you’re just waking up on March 12, get ready to come to the State Playhouse for the kickoff of our celebration of National Humanities Advocacy Day, beginning at 11:00 AM…and stick around all day. I’ll be at the College of Arts & Letters Advising table 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, so please drop by!
Warm best wishes,
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean