From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
From the Dean
Dean John C. Allen

Dean John C. Allen

A Message from the Dean John C. Allen

Four years ago I was appointed dean of the new College of Humanities and Social Sciences after the arts became their own entity at the university. We began the pioneering task of charting our own course. Initially, we sought to establish ourselves as a topflight liberal arts college within an open-access land-grant university in the Intermountain West. This goal is more challenging than it may sound.

Traditionally, colleges tend to focus on a faculty’s scholarly output or on excellence in teaching. Few colleges attempt to excel at both. Our faculty resolved that they would strive to accomplish distinction in teaching and in scholarship and research. As you read this issue of Liberalis, you will encounter faculty and students who daily combine these two visions.

Our students are curious about the world and determined to make a place for themselves in it. They take their education seriously and understand that getting an education consists of more than sitting in a classroom, taking notes and writing papers. Our students recognize the importance of holding themselves accountable and of maximizing the opportunities they have been given.

By upholding the values of a liberal arts education while still meeting the expectations of a large research-oriented university, we have emerged as a unique version of the liberal arts college. We are comfortable in our roles as scholars and teachers, as leaders and innovators. We encourage our students to take an adventuresome, inquiring stance, asking them to imagine what can be rather than to rest on what is.

Consider Joyce Kinkead, who was named Utah’s Carnegie Teacher of the Year in the fall. She is the university’s 13th professor honored with the title and has spent her career working to expand opportunities for students. Professor Kinkead established the state’s annual Research on Capitol Hill event, buoyed the Honors program, and developed a series of programs for freshmen aimed at clarifying the pathways through the university system. Somewhere during all of this she managed to keep one foot in the classroom and publish a dozen books. This is the type of scholar-teacher who walks our halls and partners with our students.

Our faculty and students are comfortable charting their own pathways. In this issue’s cover story, “Changing a Life,” you will learn about a unique relationship the college’s faculty and students have developed with Judge Kevin K. Allen who presides over the First District Mental Health Court in Logan. He recently taught an Honors course that challenged his students to move into unfamiliar territory. Part-way into the class, the students faced a decision: continue with the syllabus as planned, or toss it out the window in favor of pursuing a group research project with real-world policy implications. I am proud that they opted to venture into the unknown.

In this issue of Liberalis, you may notice a theme of advocacy and active engagement with learning, a theme that is consistent with our mission. You will read about three alumnae who exemplify what it means to be a graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Lexie and Lindsay Kite, ’06, are featured in “The Ugly Media” for their determination to help women reject harmful body image expectations as portrayed in the mass media. In “Taking on the World,” Nelda Ault, ’05, stands up for those who do not have the means, yet, to stand up for themselves. I commend our alumnae for their commitment.

As I look back at the past four years, I am inspired by who we are and by where we are headed. I am excited about the scholar-teachers among our ranks and the students we steer into the world to make a difference.

Thank you for accompanying us on this journey.

John C. Allen, Dean