Dean's Welcome Back
As we enter the springtime of 2012, I would like to warmly welcome you to the College of Arts and Sciences (College). I am also very pleased to report that as a College we are thriving like never before, thanks to our exceptional students, faculty, and staff. The total number of undergraduate majors and graduate students in College departments and programs grew by 4% from fall 2010 to fall 2011. The growth rate over the last five years at both the undergraduate and graduate levels has been 22%. Even more impressive and inspiring has been the increasing number of students earning degrees. In 2011, the College conferred degrees to a record 1045 undergraduate and graduate students. This represented an 11% jump over the total number of College graduates in 2010 and a 30% increase over the number of degrees conferred five years ago. With student demand for our courses remaining strong, College departments and programs have worked hard to strengthen curricular offerings, including the establishment in 2011 of an approved Latin and Latin American Studies (LLAS) major.
Departments and programs continue to implement creative projects to engage students in the learning process. These include encouraging undergraduate and graduate student research, writing, presentations and publications; organizing student travel and study both in the U.S. and abroad; conducting student-centered assessment; devising new strategies to improve student retention; supporting interdisciplinary programs; expanding programs at NEIU’s satellite locations including the University Center in Lake County; collaborating with student organizations; honoring outstanding students at special award ceremonies; and, in general, working diligently to advance the university strategic plan especially in the areas of student success and faculty academic excellence. College students in turn continue to present and publish their research, perform concerts, organize major events, win awards, and gain acceptance to excellent and varied graduate and professional programs.
The College was happy to hire eight new tenure-track faculty members in spring 2011: Brandon Bisbey (World Languages and Cultures), Francisco Iacobelli (Computer Science), Brooke Johnson (Sociology), Melinda Merrick (Geography and Environmental Studies), Anuj Mubayi (Mathematics), Shayne Pepper (Communication, Media, and Theatre), Emily Rumschlag-Booms (Biology), and Susan Tang (Music). We also expect to have more than a dozen new tenure-line faculty members starting in fall 2012.
Our faculty members continued to excel in various ways. In 2011, two College faculty members were awarded tenure, two were promoted to the rank of associate professor, and two to full professor. Fifteen faculty members authored books in 2011 and dozens published articles and presented concerts. Thirteen College faculty members earned 2010 Faculty Excellence Awards for their achievements and contributions to the academic community in the academic year 2008-2009. Very notably, Shelley Bannister, Professor, Justice Studies, was the recipient of the 2011 Audrey Reynolds Distinguished Teaching Award and Marian Gidea, Professor, Mathematics, was presented with the 2011 Bernard J. Brommel Distinguished Research Award. Jon Hageman, Associate Professor, Anthropology has been serving as the 2011-2012 NEIU presidential intern, the fourth College faculty member to serve in this capacity.
Faculty members and administrators of the College of Arts and Sciences continue to be awarded external grants and fellowships. The largest current grant is a multi-year $4.35 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will enhance student career opportunities in biomedical and environmental health sciences. There are seventeen other external grants currently operating in the College.
In January 2012, we were happy to welcome David Leaman to our administrative team as an Associate Dean with special responsibilities in the areas of public affairs, graduate education, support for satellite locations, student career development, and assessment. He joins me, Associate Dean David Rutschman, and an exceptional College support staff that is deeply dedicated to fulfilling the core values of the College and University.
As a community, we continue to foster faculty excellence and to work hard to serve our students, embracing our wonderful diversity, in the spirit of our values of integrity, excellence, access to opportunity, and empowerment through learning.
Dean Wamucii Njogu