A Word from Dean Richard Goodstein – August 2015

August 5, 2015

Dear Friends,

Campus is starting to buzz with the excitement of the approaching academic year.  The sight of U-Hauls, mattresses strapped to car-top carriers and increased foot traffic on campus are sure signs of the impending start of classes on August 19. While many of us have appreciated the lack of traffic and abundance of parking over the summer, I can’t wait to have students back on campus for the start of the new academic year.

As you may already know, Clemson is undergoing a significant strategic planning process, which will include a new roadmap, entitled 2020Forward, as well as a major reorganization of the five academic colleges. In July, the Clemson administration presented their proposal for this reorganization to the Board of Trustees. The Board gave tentative approval to the plan, pending further refinement, encouraging the University to settle on a plan that not only will be ideal from an academic standpoint, but also most efficient from the standpoint of administrative costs. (You can learn more about the process here.)

Faculty across the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities have participated in this ground-up planning process since its inception more than a year ago. I believe the result of these efforts will yield exciting new possibilities and new efficiencies in academic collaboration and discovery, and I thank each member of the faculty and college administrators who engaged in this important endeavor.

In the year ahead, the College of AAH will continue our work of providing transformational opportunities for students to understand and interpret the world. To our alumni and friends off-campus, we invite you to stay in close touch during this year of transition.

Yesterday, the college department chairs met for a day-long session to begin the process of refocusing our strategic plan, holding fast to our commitment to enhance the value of a Clemson degree. We are ever mindful that engagement in the arts, design and the humanities are critical experiences for students to have in their portfolios as they graduate and begin their careers.  As Forbes magazine reported this week, “the ‘useless’ Liberal Arts degree has become tech’s hottest ticket.”  The article relates both anecdotal and empirical evidence showing how many high-tech employers such as Facebook, OpenTable, Uber and Slack increasingly value the general background of arts, design and humanities majors.  The article also pointed to a study using LinkedIn data showing that more arts and humanities graduates had migrated to jobs in Silicon Valley than graduates with a technical background.

Yet, we never forget that the true value of a liberal arts degree encompasses more than a career. It prepares a student to become a contributing citizen, to be able to navigate the constantly changing seas of visual and cultural literacy, to anticipate and meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.

In closing, I hope you will stay tuned as plans are announced for an extraordinary number of upcoming events including the Clemson University Solar Decathlon, new initiatives in the humanities, including the Race and the University series, the Clemson Literary Festival, the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts season, and exhibitions in the Lee Gallery and other Center for Visual Arts venues.

We hope to see you there!

As always, Go Tigers!