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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

CLA Task Force on Internationalization

CLA has long played a central role in the international activities of the University of Minnesota. Our faculty and students are engaged around the globe and CLA students represent the largest group studying abroad. CLA faculty collaborate with colleagues in more than 70 countries. We are the home of the University’s language programs and the place where students take courses on diverse cultures and social systems as well as the transnational processes that link them. In addition to the work underway in CLA departments, we are the home to more than a dozen centers and programs that define their missions around international projects.

In August I appointed a new task force on internationalization. Professor MJ Maynes (History) agreed to chair, and over the next few months the task force will consider a number of questions as it assesses our efforts, including:

  • What does it mean for us at this time to internationalize or incorporate global perspectives into our teaching and research? Has this become a "mature industry" where we need to fine tune and refine what we do, or are there compelling new directions and ways to leverage our international strength? Is there an Internationalization 2.0?
  • How do we best align international activities with the goals of the CLA Roadmap? How could we best leverage what we do in internationalization to advance our intent to be a destination college?
  • What are the cutting edge areas of scholarly inquiry where CLA might take the lead and have a major impact not only in our state but nationally and internationally as well? What is CLA’s comparative advantage in this field?
  • How, and how effectively, are we currently “being international”? Do all of these efforts remain vital or might we have opportunities to reallocate resources and energy to different international efforts? Are there potential cross-departmental, cross-college opportunities we have not tapped?
  • How do CLA’s efforts intersect with the focus of the Office of the Vice President for Research on promoting/facilitating international research? With the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS-Alliance) and its constituent units (e.g., the Learning Abroad Center)?
  • What short-term changes might enhance our internationalization efforts (these changes would include not simply adding more activity or resources, but also what we might stop doing in order to focus on more promising directions)? What are possible longer-term activities for which we might seek external funding (e.g, preparing for the next round of Title VI proposals)?

Members of the task force include:
Joseph Allen, Asian Languages & Literatures
Sid Bedingfield, Journalism & Mass Communication
Evelyn Davidheiser, CLA International Programs/Institute for Global Studies
Sheng He, Psychology
Lisa Hilbink, Political Science
Lynn Lukkas, Art
MJ Maynes (chair), History
Richa Nagar, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies/CLA interdisciplinary initiatives
Matthias Rothe, German, Scandinavian & Dutch
Alex Rothman, CLA Research & Graduate Programs/Psychology
Shaden Tageldin, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
Karen-Sue Taussig, Anthropology
Klaas van der Sanden, Institute for Global Studies
William Viestenz, Spanish & Portuguese
Undergraduate and graduate student members (tbd)

The members of the task force have been encouraged to take a broadly collegiate, and not unit-specific, perspective as they consider these questions and topics.

I look forward to the task force’s thoughts and recommendations. The team’s work should wrap up by the end of the calendar year.

-John Coleman, dean

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Catherine Squires Named RIGS Director

I am pleased to announce that Professor Catherine Squires has agreed to serve as the Director of the RIGS Initiative.

Over the past 18 months, a team of department chairs developed and discussed with governance and consultative groups an ambitious initiative that leveraged the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure already existing on campus.

The recommendations of that group form the basis of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Initiative (RIGS). In addition to consultation with governance groups, the initiative received the support of our CLA Roadmap Goal Team on Diversity and was a recommended action for the College. RIGS will establish a recognizable intellectual hub that builds upon the interdisciplinary strengths of individual units -- African American and African Studies, American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies--to make productive connections to other units across the College and the University.  

Among the activities of the RIGS Initiative in 2015-16 will be organizing the college’s diversity cluster hire; discussing coordination of curricular initiatives across departments, including efforts to draw new and underserved students to CLA in ways that align with the CLA Roadmap; convening and coordinating research clusters for faculty and graduate students working in race, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality studies; developing and launching digital and other communications that highlight and translate faculty and graduate student research; and pursuing opportunities for community engagement. I am grateful we will have Professor Squires’s leadership to guide us on these efforts.

Catherine Squires, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and former director of graduate studies for the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, brings robust and relevant experience to this new role. Professor Squires received her Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University in 1999. Prior to arriving at the University of Minnesota, she was on the faculty of the University of Michigan. Her most recent book is The Post-Racial Mystique, published by New York University Press (2014).

As part of our CLA Roadmap we have stated that CLA must mirror the community as we build a college that addresses important societal challenges.  Diversity is essential as we develop undergraduate and graduate student leaders to engage in the intellectual and societal challenges of our day.  

-John Coleman, dean

Thursday, March 26, 2015

View Videos of College Conversations

Many thanks to all of you who were able to attend our College Conversation sessions this Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24. We had a strong turnout at the events themselves, as well as online for the live streams. It's great to see this level of interest in the CLA Roadmap. Those of you who were unable to attend can view videos of both events here.

Just a reminder: the draft of the Roadmap document is online for your review, and will remain open for comments until April 3. I welcome your feedback, whether voicing support for recommendations in the document, suggesting revisions, or proposing additional ideas for consideration. Comments can be submitted using the Roadmap Feedback Form or via the link on the first page of the Roadmap document.

Monday, March 16, 2015

CLA Roadmap Posted for Review

I'm pleased to announce that the preliminary draft of the CLA Roadmap has been posted for your review. The document is only accessible to users at the University of Minnesota, so if you're having trouble viewing it, please make sure you're signed into your UMN account.

View the CLA Roadmap.

Comments will be accepted through the end of the day on March 24 and can be submitted using the Roadmap Feedback Form, or by following the link on the first page of the Roadmap document.

If you'd like to provide feedback in person, mark your calendar to attend one of our upcoming College Conversations. The Goal Team chairs and I will be available to answer questions, provide insights, and hear your suggestions.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

College Conversations: March 23 and 24

Last Thursday, the CLA Roadmap Steering Group came together to discuss the work of the Goal Teams. The Goal Team chairs shared the recommendations that emerged from their teams to advance the Roadmap Goals. These recommendations will be refined over the next several weeks to form the content of the Roadmap, and posted here during the week of March 16.

That's where you come in. I'm pleased to invite you to join the Goal Team chairs and me for College Conversations, where we open the floor for discussion and answer questions about the recommendations and the process undertaken to develop them.

Monday, March 23, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
1114 Social Sciences Building

Tuesday, March 24, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Fireplace Room (Room 135), Nicholson Hall

Much like the Campus Conversations that took place as part of University strategic planning, these sessions provide an opportunity for you to give feedback that will shape further revision of the Roadmap. I hope to see many of you there, and look forward to hearing your suggestions and comments.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roadmap Progress Update

The CLA Roadmap process is moving forward on schedule with all five of the Roadmap Goal Teams wrapping up their meetings by the end of this week. More than 95 faculty, staff, students, and alumni make up the five Roadmap Goal Teams that have been meeting the past three months.

The Roadmap Steering Group will be formally presenting the recommendations to the dean on March 5. The Roadmap Steering Group consists of the chairs of each of the five goal teams that include: Readiness, Professor Laura Gurak; Research, Professor Mark Snyder; Grand Challenges Leadership, Associate Professor Catherine Squires; Diversity, Professor Josephine Lee; and Engagement, Professor Phyllis Moen. (See an example of the presentation template.)

The Roadmap will be posted on the CLA website during the week of March 23. This will also mark the beginning of open meetings with the CLA community to gather additional feedback. The final plan will be presented to the provost by mid-April followed by the naming of a Roadmap Implementation Team to begin turning the recommendations into action.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Culture of Engagement and the CLA Roadmap

The College of Liberal Arts does not end at the borders of our campus. As the liberal arts heart of Minnesota’s flagship university, CLA has deep ties to multiple communities: those who work and study with us; those who support us; and those who occupy spaces, both physical and theoretical, with connections to us. The CLA Roadmap promises as one of its five goals that CLA will deepen a culture of engagement for our alumni, community, and state. In a practical sense, this commitment means dedicating time and resources to increasing access in both directions—our access to the community, and theirs to us.

Extensive two-way community engagement and sharing of what we have to offer in CLA is vitally important. It is not only important to us as a college per se, but the work we do here matters and needs to be shared broadly. The liberal arts are central to the work of this land grant institution and they contribute significantly to the Twin Cities, the state, and beyond. We need to communicate better what we already do—many units and individuals in our college are deeply engaged beyond campus, but we do not have adequate tracking to show the extent of this involvement.

Diversity and the CLA Roadmap

One of the concerns I heard from many of you prior to arriving on campus was that the college had made some progress, but not enough, on diversity. While there has been some positive news on student success (for example, retention and graduation rates), in other areas, such as retaining faculty, there was great concern.

To truly engage with the community, CLA must be a reflection of the community. To make better decisions and to be first rate in identifying emerging research questions, we need diverse perspectives. And to maintain the gains we achieve, we must establish a supportive, welcoming, and encouraging climate that attracts diverse faculty, students, and staff and enables them to thrive. Diversity at all levels is a critical challenge and priority and diversity is, accordingly, one of the five major goals on the CLA Roadmap as we pursue our vision of becoming a destination college. Our Diversity Goal Team has begun meeting to map out recommendations on how we make meaningful advancement toward achieving our diversity goals.