Dean's Message | CoLA Newsletter | College of Liberal Arts | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Welcome from the Dean

May 04, 2016


Dear Alumni and Friends,

After completing almost nine months on the job I am delighted to say that I feel very fortunate to serve as dean of the College of Liberal Arts! Our students are eager to learn, faculty are talented and productive, and staff are dedicated and resourceful. Although we are facing challenging financial circumstances we remain positive and focused on our mission, which is to educate our students in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

We have initiated several activities aimed at increasing student enrollment in CoLA. We are actively encouraging prospective students admitted to our 18 departments to join the Saluki family by highlighting the value of our programs and the care with which we prepare them for a successful future. Additionally, we are reaching out to area high schools and community colleges and offering a Speakers Bureau – a list of about 60 topics that our faculty are passionate about and are excited to present in their classrooms – several faculty visits have already been well received.

The spring semester is also a busy time of year as we host large groups of middle and high school students on our beautiful campus. These younger students participate in activities provided by faculty and students in our various programs: Communications Day, Drama Daze, English Day, Foreign Language Day, Southern Illinois Regional History Fair, and Music Days (CC Choir, Jazz Festival and Opera).

Our faculty continue to excel in their teaching, creative activity and research endeavors and they are presenting their work at regional, national and international forums. Three CoLA faculty have been selected for university-level awards: Sajal Lahiri, professor in Economics, is the 2016 University-Level Scholar Excellence Award winner, Sarah Kertz, assistant professor in  Psychology is the 2016 University-Level Early Career Faculty Excellence Award winner and Christina Lyons, lecturer in  English has been selected for the 2016 University-Level Teaching Excellence (Non-Tenure Track) Award. Most recently, Daryl Kroner, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Mary Louise Cashel, Psychology, won grants from the Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice, respectively. Additionally, Trent Ford and Sylvia Secchi, both from Geography and Environmental Resources, were awarded grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the USDA and Argonne National Laboratory/Department of Energy (two separate awards for Secchi), respectively. Two graduate students received the 2015-2016 CoLA Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award: Paula De Salazar from Languages, Cultures, and International Trade at the MA/MS level, and Gabe Casher from Psychology, at the MFA/PhD level.

I hope you enjoy reading this second issue of our eNewsletter and fondly recalling your own studies in Carbondale. It has been encouraging and heartwarming to meet some of you at our various on an off-campus events. I invite you to contact me at 618/453-2466, to share your thoughts and comments.

— Dean Meera Komarraju