CAS meeting brings faculty together, introduces new members

SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) faculty and staff are anything but negative about the outlook for the upcoming school year.

All members gathered at the 17th Annual CAS Fall Meeting on Friday to discuss the present and future state of the university and introduce new faculty and staff.

SIUE’s Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift began the meeting with thankful sentiments about the existing faculty and staff and said he’s glad SIUE has not stopped hiring more members.

SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift speaks to the faculty and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I want to acknowledge the role you play and thank you very much for it,” Vandegrift said. “We are able to hire as needed, and were able to keep our favorable student-to-faculty ratio.”

He said he is glad SIUE has been able to hold off the furloughs and firings that many other college departments and universities have been forced to do to save on spending. Vandegrift also highlighted the current, positive attitudes and growth of the university, especially in comparison to the recent economic slump.

“We are in a very fortunate position right now in that we are a ‘hot’ university,” he said. “We have lots of incoming students.”

Vandegrift also said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the college will have the highest enrollment it has ever seen this coming school year.

Because of the continuing growth in enrollment, CAS has been able to hire advisory staff that will assist students with choosing classes and other common needs. This way, Vandegrift said, the faculty can spend less time trying to advise students and more time mentoring them.

The university has also developed into a school where students stay and graduate instead of enter and then transfer to obtain their degree. Vandegrift said SIUE has implemented greater emphasis on retention and graduation, and a recent federal bill has been pushing other universities to do the same.

“We will be ahead of other universities because we have been working on this for five or six years,” he said. “This is where (students) want to be. They don’t have to leave here and we don’t want them to leave.”

The meeting also included a video created by Instructor in the school of Mass Communications, Cory Byers, which emphasized the important role of a liberal arts education.

CAS Dean Aldemaro Romero then spoke about the ongoing improvements within the college, including the university’s Cuban initiative with the University of Havana, SIUE’s well-known nature preserve and the new science and arts buildings.

Members of the SIUE Choir provide a sample of Cuban music that they are mastering. The choir members sang as part of Romero's presentation of the Cuba Initiative.

Wendy Shaw, associate dean, also introduced new CAS members: one professor who is chair of Foreign Languages and Literature, 11 new assistant professors from 10 different departments, one visiting assistant professor, one visiting scholar, one instructor, two advisers and four office support specialists — 22 new faculty and staff in all.


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