From the dean’s desk: A&S, May 2024 - The University of Tulsa
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From the dean’s desk: A&S, May 2024

Photograph of Kirsten Olds
Kirsten Olds, Interim Dean

May is a month marked by traditions & transitions in academe, honoring students’ accomplishments during their preceding years at the university and ushering them into the next phase of their development. For faculty and staff, it also represents a period for reflection (and exhaustion!). At the end of year two of a five-year timeline, we have accomplished 55% of our strategic plan with another 23% in progress. Select highlights from this past academic year include the following:

  • Increased strategic communication and brand identity.
    We launched “embrace the ampersand” to showcase the strength in the diversity, inclusivity, and flexibility of Arts & Sciences. Many thanks to our Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications for partnering with us to execute our strategy and facilitating these monthly newsletters (read any you missed via the archive links below), articles on the web and in the university’s magazine, and mailings (such as the Dean’s report).

    • Weekly email updates with surveys to faculty and students crafted laboriously by our Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Lara Foley, Ph.D.
    • “Snacks & Sips,” an informal come-and-go opportunity to grab a refreshment and connect with the Dean’s office. April survey data indicates that 71% of respondents had heard of Snacks & Sips.
    • The enhancement of our social media pages run by the intrepid Lindsey Boulden. We’ve posted 652 posts this year across Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and our total net audience growth across the three platforms has increased 505%—so if you don’t already, follow us!
  • Enhanced student experience.
    Data from student surveys indicates positive momentum.

    • 67% of students who responded to our survey noted they had a strong or very strong connection to the college, up 11% from the fall.
    • 88% indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the college (a 6% increase from fall).
    • Student feedback and planning in the college has been spurred by our weekly student surveys, with 206 unique student respondents weighing in on topics such as increasing participation in course evaluations and desired internship opportunities, to name just two.
    • 60% increase from last year in applications to our competitive D’Arcy internship program. 10 organizations are partnering with us this year.
    • 25 students attended Tulsa Council on Foreign Relations programs this academic year, and one of our majors was selected to participate in the national organization’s Young Leaders Initiative.
    • Revived the “minimester,” with 6 courses offered this January short term.
    • A&S participation in the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge increased, with 28 students involved in 10 faculty-led research teams in our college (ranging from Indigenous Book History and Reparative Cataloguing to Your Robot is a Caveman: Using Robots for Archaeological Science) and four student-initiated projects. This represents a 64.7% increase from last year!
  • Faculty, programs, and facilities.
    Our campus footprint has expanded and we’re building on our interdisciplinary strengths and status as the founding college of The University of Tulsa.

    • We welcomed 24 new faculty to Arts & Sciences, including our first ever Music Industry Professional in Residence.
    • A new interdisciplinary minor in Historical Trauma and Transformation was approved.
    • The Office of the Dean returned to its one-time home in Tyrrell Hall.
    • The Department of English & Creative Writing moved to the third floor of Chapman Hall and the Department of Education is now on the first floor of Chapman Hall.
    • Partnering with IT, we launched a technology refresh for Chapman and Tyrrell Halls, which provided updated, standardized classroom equipment.
    • We’ve launched an ambitious plan for TEAM at 101 Archer.
  • Renewed alumni and community engagement.
    Your embrace of our vision and our strategic plan initiatives has been essential to our success.

    • Total fundraising is up 30.5% from last year, with $3.7m raised as of March 30. Wow!
    • We hosted ~245 events this academic year, from lectures and symposia to celebrations, workshops, exhibitions, and performances. Bookmark the events calendar to keep abreast of activities next year.
    • Our last conference of the year will be the Society for Textual Scholarship’s annual convening, which will be held June 6-8 at 101 Archer.

Many thanks to all—faculty, students, the staff of the college, alumni, and our community partners—for believing in what we do and the impact our collective work has and for making the Kendall College of Arts & Sciences community one of empathy and excellence. Thank you for your commitment, energy, and financial support. On July 1, Blaine Greteman will assume the responsibility of dean of Kendall College of Arts & Sciences. He brings tremendous vision, energy, and excitement, and will undoubtedly extend and expand the work of the college in new directions. I have been so honored to serve the college and appreciate deeply your contributions & support.

Embrace the ampersand,

P.S. Because so many of you have asked: I will be on sabbatical this fall, starting a new research project on queer realisms and Oklahoma artist Harold Stevenson, which is supported by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities. I may also finally get to my long reading-for-pleasure list, so if you have any recommendations (or if you knew Harold!), please reach out.

2023-24 Arts & Sciences Newsletters