A Message from the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

There is something about the start of an academic year that gets me excited each and every time.  The possibility to transform student’s lives and help them realize their full potential is a wonderful gift granted to each of us in this educational enterprise, and I’m always humbled by the thought.  I’m especially grateful this semester as I return to the classroom to teach an introductory Statistics class, one of my favorite subjects!  I can’t wait to engage with our students and share my passion for learning with them.

The 2019-2020 academic year is a special one for the College of Arts and Sciences.  The documents that formed the College went into effect on July 1, 1995, so we are celebrating our 25th year as a College.  With this in mind, and with your help, we will be celebrating a number of special events that will culminate during the summer of 2020 with a significant commemoration of our anniversary. More on this at our Fall Breakfast this Friday!

This a special time throughout the campus. Last month Governor J.B. Pritzker came to campus to sign a bill regarding the SIU System Student Trustees. The legislation–House Bill 2239–provides that both student members of the Board of Trustees of SIU will be full voting members. During that visit, Governor Pritzker had important words to say about SIU System as a whole and, in particular, about the relationship between the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses.  You can read more about the House bill in this month’s issue.

It’s always wonderful to celebrate our students and their accomplishments. Earlier this year, Sutton Allen was published for his experimental body of artwork in the peer-reviewed NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (UReCA). Allen works primarily in oil and his past series, exhibited in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition, explored iconography and images of antiquity. Allen had two residencies this summer—one at the New York Academy of Art and another at the New York Studio School. Both programs are merit-based, internationally acclaimed, and require an intense level of commitment as students are challenged daily with the problems of drawing, painting, and sculpture. Congratulations to Sutton!

Our alumni also continue to accomplish great things. Since graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2012 with a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún has worked for three years as a high school teacher of English (2012-2015), a Speech Linguist at Google (2015/2019), and a lexicographical advisor/consultant for Oxford University Press Dictionaries (2018-date).  From linguistics to technology, Túbọ̀sún’s work spans many fields and for the past four years, he has been working on a number of personal projects dedicated to preserving African languages online.

Or faculty continue to innovate and push the boundaries of knowledge. Venture down the stairs to the basement of Science East and you might bump into Dr. Edward Ackad, associate professor in the Department of Physics. Outside of teaching quantum mechanics, Ackad researches computational nanophotonics and biophysics. Currently Ackad is researching human cytochrome P450, an enzyme that plays a major role in drug detoxification in your body. Collaborating with Maria Kontoyianni from SIUE’s School of Pharmacy, they are working on modeling the various geometric configurations of the P450 molecule.

Community engagement remains a critically important part of who we are in CAS. Dr. Suman Mishra, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Mass Communications, initiated a campaign, #89BlocksStrong,  to assist the residents of East St Louis in their efforts to activate, engage, and inspire change in their community.  She suggested an interactive mural to establish more of a visual presence for East St. Louis and to help further build community and inspire a feeling of ownership for the city. The mural was recently completed by residents on the Majestic Theatre (built in 1928).

Finally, a thank you and farewell to Emily Dustman, who for the past year has served our College as our acting Communications Director and publisher of This Month in CAS.  Emily is leaving us for an opportunity in the Cortex Innovation Complex doing similar work.  Her creative blending of Art and Science can be seen here in her print magazine E-Squared.   We will miss Emily’s creativity and energy but wish her only the very best as she begins a new stage of her career.  Thank you, Emily!

Until the next time, here’s This Month in CAS!

Best wishes,

Greg

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