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Northwestern University

From the Dean

Dean Morris

It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as Interim Dean of Weinberg College this year. I would like to thank our alumni, faculty, staff, and students for making this such an enriching experience. A key part of the role is to facilitate the careers and educational accomplishments of others. I came to know large numbers of faculty and students in ways I would not have otherwise. The job of dean forces you outside your comfort zone. For me, as a sociologist, this meant learning much more about how those in the sciences and humanities approach their work. You try to take the long view and help others do the same. You ask yourself how things should be organized and what kind of resources others need to reach their goals. You learn to be an excellent listener.

As Dean I have come to recognize in a deep way the talent and dedication of those I work with. I have enjoyed getting to know my colleagues in the Dean’s office much better, both as professionals and as human beings. And I can say with confidence that for the people who work in this office, it’s not simply a job. It’s the sense of making a real contribution to an enterprise that is dedicated to learning, to exploration, and to producing graduates who will help build a better society.

I’ll mention some of the concrete achievements of this year, as a way of thanking those who played a part in them. I’m pleased that new programs left the drawing boards and entered the classroom. The Kaplan Humanities Scholars initiative had a successful debut, with 44 students beginning to learn what constitutes a good society. The Brady Scholars Program for Ethics and Civic Life has recruited its first students who are looking forward to a challenging array of classes in the fall. We’ve also made significant progress toward a strong undergraduate program in African studies and a new program in Latino studies. A significant upgrade of our computing and technology capabilities is enhancing the way students learn and faculty and staff do their jobs.

This year, we’ve recruited twenty-one outstanding scholars who will bring new perspectives to our students. For example, two new specialists in Middle East studies will join us, one in 2008 and one in 2009. Three Latino scholars will broaden the curriculum in English, history, and religion. We are proud that the biological sciences attracted an outstanding young scholar who will be the first African American woman in our science departments.

None of this would have been possible without the support of enthusiastic alumni and friends of the College and for this, we deeply thank you. The new Dean, who will be announced soon, will face demanding challenges but the position will prove rewarding because it affords a vantage point few others will ever have. The university at its best is about helping people to grow and become more tolerant and more productive. Thank you for the opportunity as Interim Dean to play a hands-on role in this noble endeavor.

Aldon Morris

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