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

Kendall College of Arts & Sciences provides the core of a TU education and the intellectual foundation for life in a free and democratic society.

This sentence introduces the mission for Kendall College and anchors the work we—faculty, staff, students—do in making anew each day the deep traditions of the liberal arts: liberal, meaning free and expansive, and arts, a principled practice. While we’ve expanded from the trivium and quadrivium, Kendall College has maintained the guiding values of these intellectual traditions in its commitment to the fine and performing arts, humanities, and social and behavioral sciences, to disseminating knowledge and artistic expression at the highest levels, and to expanding our world views to envision more just societies.

Kendall College of Arts & Sciences ampersand graphic

Studies confirm the value in the type of education Kendall College offers; our experiences affirm its centrality to our very existence. In a professional climate in which the average college-educated boomer held 12.8 jobs in their lifetime, preparation to adapt to and thrive in uncertainty, to anticipate questions and problem solve, and to work with both people and machines will distinguish a Kendall College-educated student. In an interpersonal world in which people from different backgrounds, languages, and cultural values are coming in closer contact with one another, the student who shies not from difficult dialogue and who adopts a spirit of generosity and free inquiry is best prepared to welcome the possibilities of this global nexus.

Kendall College of Arts & Sciences embraces the ampersand and the complexity and contradiction the conjunctive logogram allows. Arts & sciences. Tradition & innovation. Integrative & inclusive. Passion & profession.

In Kendall College we study ancient texts & articles published yesterday. We interrogate the Euro-American tradition & examine global cultures. We scat jazz songs & scour data sets. We dive deeply into particular disciplines & think broadly across methodologies. We delve into theory & apply it in internships. We hone our practices & embrace the abyss of the unknown. And we do so with empathy & rigor, humility & conviction.

I close with an exercise we’ve undertaken—with celebrated failure!—with students: attempt for one 24-hour period a “liberal arts blackout.” Try to consume or participate in nothing that resulted from liberal arts disciplines or thought. Then reflect on your experience and quality of your day (or give up, in despair!). Tell us about your experience using #kendallcollegeampersand. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, please also share with us stories of your liberal arts life, of embracing the ampersand in all of its ups & downs.

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Kirsten Olds
Interim Dean
Kendall College of Arts & Sciences