From the Dean's Desk: A&S November 2023 - The University of Tulsa
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From the Dean’s Desk: A&S November 2023

Photograph of Kirsten Olds
Kirsten Olds

Last week, Kendall College of Arts and Sciences welcomed alumni back to campus for Homecoming, featuring festivities such as lectures, receptions, and the annual bonfire—a tradition dating back to at least 1919! We hope that our alumni’s engagement doesn’t end with Homecoming but continues throughout the year. This can be achieved through activities like mentoring a student, participating in a careers panel, offering an internship, attending events, contributing to our annual fund, or sharing their TU stories proudly.

Studies show that alumni engagement increases if, as students, they participated in what’s recognized in higher education as ‘high-impact practices.’ In addition to strengthening their connection to their alma mater, high-impact practices deepen students’ learning, GPA, retention and graduation rates, and career satisfaction. At Kendall College, students have the opportunity to engage in all 10 activities recognized in higher education as ‘high impact’: capstone and collaborative projects; shared intellectual experiences, including first-year seminars and learning communities; diversity and global learning; undergraduate research and e-portfolios; and internships and service and community-based learning.

Through our signature First Seminar courses, students in their first year grapple with substantial topics as they learn to find and refine their voice—in the classroom, in their community, and on the page. This spring’s writing-intensive offerings include ‘Shakespeare vs. the Dragon: Embracing the Shadow, from The Tempest to Earthsea,’ ‘Boy Named Sue: Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Politics in Country Music History,’ and ‘Travel Writing and the Environment in the 20th Century.’ The ability to conduct meaningful research and creative activity as an undergraduate student distinguishes the TU experience, and in Kendall College, research takes many forms. Read about some of our students’ investigations.

The ability to navigate and thrive in a global environment sets Kendall College students apart, honed through participation in interdisciplinary programs such as International Business/Science/Engineering and Language or study abroad. Last year, 89 A&S students studied abroad through semester-long programs, JumpStart TU, or faculty-led courses. Internships, community-based learning, and collaborative projects allow students to apply theory to new situations, while also fostering critical social-emotional skills. Tulsa City Council, The Church Studio, Greenwood Rising, and The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges were just four of the many organizations with which students interned this past summer.

Each semester, the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters of Kendall College uphold President William Hawley’s proclamation from 1911: ‘The city of Tulsa is coming more and more to realize that the College is one of the greatest assets of the city.’ Nearly 130 years after its founding, Kendall College continues to innovate its curriculum, develop high-impact practices, attract exceptional faculty, strive for excellence, and shape the community—whether between Delaware and Harvard Avenues, in the city of Tulsa, or globally.

Embrace the ampersand,

Kirsten Olds
Interim Dean