I started in this position on July 15th. As I write this I’m in my 100th day as Dean of the College of Letters & Sciences. It’s been quite a ride so far but I must say that I feel very fortunate to be in this position. The college is doing great things with wonderfully talented and committed people. During my early tenure in this position I have already noticed some important attributes of the college and the university that make this a special place for students and the staff. Over the next several weeks I’ll list a new one each week.
1. The Little Things Can Make the Biggest Difference: Although we have talented and dynamic teachers that no doubt have a major impact on students in the classroom, my conversations with current students and alums have convinced me that it’s the little things we do that have the greatest impacts. Students come to UW-W expecting to have great teachers, small classroom sizes, and a variety of applied learning opportunities. What they don’t expect is the interest that we take in their personal lives, their unique challenges, and desire to identify what ignites their interest in a particular subject. Students don’t expect to get “noticed” and are sometimes even embarrassed or frustrated when a professor takes interest in them as an individual and pushes them to realize their potential. However, these are the moments that change their lives. I remember being noticed by a professor as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia who invited me to work on a research project with him. It changed my life. We cannot stop doing this. We need to do it more.