11, 2002, Gazette)
by Chris HammondDr. David Graham
Dr. David Graham, Memorial Universitys new dean of arts, will
take up his new post in July 2002. Finishing a term as head of the
Department of French and Spanish, as well as a sabbatical leave, Dr.
Graham has not yet settled into his new post. However, he has a clear
vision of how the Faculty of Arts will continue to function as a viable
member of the university community.
Dr. Graham has been a faculty member at Memorial in the Department
of French and Spanish since 1979, after teaching for eight years at
the Royal Military College in Kingston, ON. Coming from Saskatchewan,
he completed an honours degree at the University of Saskatchewan and
did his graduate work in French at the University of Western Ontario.
During his tenure at Memorial, Dr. Graham has been head of the Department
of French and Spanish twice.
French emblem books have been the focus of Dr. Grahams research
for a number of years. Created primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries,
these illustrated books are part of a larger European genre. More
specifically, Dr. Graham has been working on picture/text relationships
and the construction of meaning through mixed sign systems of images
and texts, as well as the computerization of old books.
Dr. Graham sees several key challenges that he wishes to address in
his new role as dean of arts. While many of them are interrelated,
Dr. Graham thinks that faculty renewal is a main priority. While noting
the universitys more experienced faculty members are a great
asset, Dr. Graham said it is critically important for us as
a faculty to find ways to make good appointments of junior faculty.
Another challenge for the Faculty of Arts is program offerings. While
enrolment remains high, the number of students completing majors and
minors, as well as the number of arts degrees conferred, has declined
in recent years. Dr. Graham interprets this to mean that, while courses
offered by the faculty remain attractive, the programs may not be
as appealing as they once were, especially as professional programs
may be perceived as being more practical. He believes that strong
arguments can be made in support of the practicality of an Arts degree,
but sees revitalizing arts programs as necessary to ensure the success
of the faculty over the next decade.
Resources are of course crucial, and Dr. Graham intends to look for
resources both within and outside the university. In order to do that,
he said, we have to increase public support for the humanities
and social sciences. Thats a long-term objective. But I think,
in a sense, thats a key to all the rest.