A Message from the Dean of Arts

Dr. Lynne Phillips, Dean of Arts

February, 2014

Welcome to the Faculty of Arts.

Yes, we survived the Annex flood! And we are now launching two exciting initiatives this term. The first initiative is our Arts Success Plan 2020. This is a draft plan to inspire thinking about who we are as a Faculty and where we want to be in 2020. It is a ‘first’ in the history of the Faculty of Arts at Memorial University. The draft plan – currently undergoing consultation – outlines the Faculty of Arts’ strengths and challenges and suggests future actions to ensure student success and to build on our strong research, teaching and public engagement reputation.

Just to offer a hint of our discussions, the draft Vision Statement reads:

The Faculty of Arts will aim to graduate students who are well prepared to face challenges in their changing communities and who have the thoughtfulness, reflection, skills and knowledge to remain informed, ethical and active. Faculty of Arts’ scholarship will advance relevant and adaptable knowledge that facilitates learning from the past, questioning the present and creatively imagining the future. Our vision equally values research and new ways of learning that engage the public and create strategic knowledge with our students and for the world.

Consultations over the term will be held with faculty, students and staff. Of course we are also happy to hear suggestions from the community about future directions for the Faculty of Arts. What do you think we should be up to by the year 2020? Email us at arts@mun.ca and let us know!

The second big initiative this term is our ARTS on Violence series. With financial support from Memorial University’s President and Vic-President (Academic), the 16 departments in the Faculty of Arts are collaborating to share ideas on the critical – yet always elusive – theme of violence. Are we more (or less?) violent than in the past? Is violence integral to how we communicate with others? What do we define as ‘violent’ and why? To what extent are violence narratives gendered and racialized? And wither peace? Our first in-house panel (Friday, February 7th) drew us into considering such questions and urged us to think in new ways about this theme. Dr. Luke Ashworth (Political Science) spoke on war and violence, Dr. Barry Stephenson (Religious Studies) elaborated perspectives on ritual and violence and Dr. Noreen Golfman (School of Graduate Studies & English) undertook the theme of film and violence with a focus on David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. The panel provoked a great discussion – lots of food for thought to address the larger issue of how an Arts perspective makes a difference for what we know – and can possibly do – about violence.

Up next in our Arts on Violence series are Dr. Mostafa Minawi (Cornell University) who will be speaking on "Imperialism under the Radar: The Ottomans and the Scramble for Africa" (February 12, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM in A1025) and Dr. Gwynne Dyer (February 25, 7:30 p.m.) whose topic is "Why is the Middle East So Violent." See you there!