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A Message from Dean Renée T. White:

Dear friends,

It is always exciting to see the start of the academic year at Simmons, and to welcome our new and returning students. During this year's Convocation on September 3rd, I realized that I shared something very special with the graduating seniors – in 2011, we were all new to Simmons. A few of them approached me after the ceremony and we reminisced about "our" first Convocation, during which I had the honor of delivering a speech to the new students and graduating seniors. We talked about how that event generated our sense of ourselves as thinkers, learners, and leaders. It is in that spirit that I share with you some exciting plans in the College of Arts and Sciences.

We have just published our first-ever Year in Review magazine. In it, each academic department has a full spread that highlights the events they sponsored and faculty accomplishments from the 2013-14 academic year. This provides a little taste of the creative work, academic research, and original programming housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. In the near future, we look forward to sharing this publication electronically with the entire Simmons community.

This year also marks the end of a three year pilot program supporting student research and student-faculty collaborations. President Drinan has generously funded the Simmons Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grants, and we're now moving towards the next phase of long-term support. SURE grants, which are only available to students studying in departments housed in CAS, have supported student participation at academic conferences where they have presented papers and posters alongside peers, graduate students, and faculty. I often hear that academics in attendance are amazed at the level of professionalism and analytical sophistication of our students. Faculty have also used these funds to pay stipends to student researchers – called SURE Fellows. With this support, faculty have had students collaborate on art exhibits, laboratory research, archival research and many other activities. Expect an update on some of this year's recipients at some point in the future.

We're also delighted that the Alumnae Association Executive Board has provided funding in support of our Simmons World Challenge program for a second year. Simmons World Challenge is a selective and intensive course offered to a group of 20 sophomores during the winter break. Each year the Program Coordinator, Professor Ben Cole (Political Science and International Relations), reviews course proposals from faculty that address issues of global relevance and selects which proposal will be developed into that year's course. Students meet throughout the fall to explore and research that year's topic, before working with faculty, graduate students, staff members, and community partners over winter break to develop actionable solutions to the challenge. They gather in January for a community presentation and receive feedback concerning the viability of their plans. This year the topic is "Building a Sustainable World One Purchase at a Time." The faculty members leading this exploration are SOM Professor Teresa Nelson (Elizabeth J. McCandless Chair in Entrepreneurship) and CAS Professor Michael Berger (Chemistry and Physics). I look forward to updating you on their course.

Finally, over the 2014-15 academic year, I will be convening an advisory group as we review the mission of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center. Although he has stepped down as director of the Center, English Professor Afaa Michael Weaver (holder of the Alumnae Endowed Chair), has agreed to work in an ex-officio capacity as we reflect, revise, and rededicate the Center in the next 18 months. I am very excited about the possibilities and hope you will be as well.

As you can see, there is a good deal of work ahead as we continue a strong and unwavering outgrowth of Simmons's mission and vision. I look forward to updating you on all of these initiatives and sharing stories of the fantastic work of our students and faculty in the year ahead.

Dean Renee WhiteSincerely,

Renée T. White, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Simmons College
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115

You can also find out all kinds of information from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Professional Studies page on the main Simmons website as well.

 

 

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