From the Dean

Professors' Scholarly Activity Benefits Everyone

As alumni and friends of the University of St. Thomas, you have many reasons for feeling connected to the university. I am certain that high on the list for most of you who are graduates is the connection you felt with faculty during your years at St. Thomas. Our faculty historically have been committed teachers. This dedication continues and will carry us into the future.

What allows that mission to be carried out with such success, however, is not teaching alone, but also faculty scholarship. Contributions to the advancement of knowledgeand creative activity enhance human understanding. And because this is an important function of a university, such faculty engagement strengthens the reputation of our institution. This has many benefits in terms of faculty recruitment, student recruitment and the generation of outside sources of funding.

But importantly, such scholarly activity enhances teaching. Being a good teacher, understanding what constitutes good pedagogy, is not enough. I could give you dozens of examples but space is limited so I will mention just a few. Wendy Wyatt of our Department of Communication and Journalism specializes in media ethics. Her classes are outstanding in part because she is also a recognized leader nationally in this field. Mark Stansbury-O’ Donnell of our Department of Art History is a distinguished scholar in the field of classical art. His students directly benefit from his work through its integration in his classes and from the way in which his work models for students what it means to be a scholar and more generally a life-long learner. As I write this, students majoring in geology are learning by doing as they work in Nevada and Death Valley, Calif., on major research projects with professors Lisa Lamb, Tom Hickson and Kevin Theissen. Some of those students will be able to present that collaborative research at a major professional conference or perhaps co-author a publication. In other words, the scholarly activity of our faculty not only complements their commitment to teaching, it is essential to the activity itself.

Last year, faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences published 14 books, 21 chapters in edited volumes, and 96 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. College faculty were awarded 15 new external grants totaling more than $930,000,presented 236 papers at academic conferences, and gave countless artistic performances locally, nationally and internationally. I want to take this opportunity to publicly applaud that collective work. This work as much as direct work with students in our classrooms is critical to our vitality as an academic institution striving always to achieve excellence.

Every issue of CAS Spotlight features a faculty member discussing her or his research. In this issue, Ann Johnson from the Department of Psychology and her work on women psychologists are in the spotlight. Such scholarly endeavors add both to the larger community of learning and to the experience of St. Thomas students. I invite you to look for these ongoing opportunities to get a glimpse of the research in which our faculty are engaged.

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