Critical Diversity in a Digital Age

Last year we developed a strategic plan in the College of Arts & Letters that called for a cluster hire in culturally engaged digital humanities that focuses on humanities questions of race, inclusion, cultural preservation, global interconnectedness, and engaged scholarship. This fall, we sent out a call for proposals to the chairs and program directors inviting them to envision a …

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Bringing Your CV to Life

Traditionally, a curriculum vitae (CV) is an articulation of one’s qualifications and accomplishments in an academic context. The Latin root of the term suggests the extent to which the CV indicates a “course of life.” Despite the dynamic and organic connotations of this Latin root, most CVs are printed documents updated periodically by faculty members …

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Twitter as a Platform of Collaboration

Whenever I talk to faculty and students about the use of social media in the academy, I advocate for a community building approach. The idea is relatively simple: communication has the power to enrich or impoverish our relationships with one another; we should resist impoverishing and cultivate enriching practices of social media communications. However simple the …

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MSU Shadows

A year ago today, as I began my tenure as Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University, I made reference to a passage by Peter Raible, one that draws from Deuteronomy, in which he reminds us that “we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.” Although I …

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Going Viral With Your Scholarship

In a way, it all began with this picture. I was attending my first Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference in Ann Arbor to talk about digital scholarship and I didn’t know many people. I was committed to living out my fundamental commitment to use digital modes of communication to cultivate an academic community …

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Arts & Letters Scholars

Ampersand Typewriter Hammer Early last fall, our Director of Marketing and Communications, Ryan Kilcoyne, came to me with a pressing issue that required a decanal decision. “Should we use the ampersand in the official name of the College?” he asked. The gravity of the question was not immediately obvious to me. On the surface, it …

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Engaged Scholarship

This was initially posted on Medium as part of my Writing Along the Way project. Hops Grown by the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment at MSU   To speak of “applied” scholarship is to divorce theory from practice in a way that impoverishes both. This, at least, is the insight that has …

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Catalytic Opportunities

Continuing my experiment in public writing along the way, this post on Medium outlines the contours of what I’ve been thinking about as “catalytic opportunities.” I’ve begun thinking about strategic initiatives as catalytic. In chemistry, a catalyst causes a chemical reaction without itself being affected. But this isn’t exactly what I have in mind, because …

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Is Reading Writing?

This is story of an un-keynote that began in discussion with @BillHD. The conceit was this: Could we create an un-keynote experience in which members of the community would be encouraged to explore the question: Is Reading Writing? This was the design: Tweets were pre-written with images of slides that presented content about my enhanced …

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Paths to Explore

  Dear College of Arts & Letters students, As the new Dean of the College of Arts and Letters it is my pleasure to welcome you to Michigan State University. Many of you have already experienced the network of pathways that figure prominently throughout the MSU campus. It is no wonder that so many students …

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A Living Place of Education

Tree in the Botanical Gardens at Michigan State University   The places we inhabit habituate us. The virtues they cultivate are grounded in the values they embody. In 1855, a natural opening in the oak forest of the Burr farm was selected as a fitting site for the creation of the Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.) …

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The Edge of the Oak Opening

Old illustration of Linton Hall at Michigan State University As I begin my tenure as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University I find myself thinking of these lines adapted from Deuteronomy 6:10-12 by Peter Raible: “We build on foundations we did not lay. We warm ourselves at fires we …

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