The dean of the College of Liberal Arts, James Parente, chose the people who fashioned a report released this week on the future of the college. He checked in regularly as they did their work. He saw his own goals and ideas reflected in their writings.
Still, there were a couple surprises, he said Wednesday.
Parente was not prepared for the suggestion that the college consider changing its name (because "liberal" has a different connotation than it once did): "That's a challenging idea," he said. Putting caps on non-instructional expenses was also "new to me," he said. "I'll need to think about that one."
Overall, he appreciated the committee’s ideas and said groups have already begun studying some of them.
For example, the college will take a tough look at the 40 foreign languages it offers. He declined to name names, but said that a few less-commonly taught languages are offered only at introductory levels. “Are they worth doing? Is there a better way of doing it? Could we build a kind of joint curriculum?”
Although the report included “some very sobering information, there was a very clear sense of optimism and collective will to moving forward to advancing the college,” he said, “ensuring we have a very bright and robust future,” despite budget cuts.