On the dean’s duties


The College of Arts and Sciences is perhaps the University of Vermont’s most important academic division.

Nearly half of all undergraduates are enrolled in the College. It oversees courses that underpin the vast majority of our degree programs. And after only three years it’ll be needing a new dean.

When Antonio Cepeda-Benito was up for review in the middle of the fall semester, he sent a 16-page letter to the entirety of the College outlining accomplishments he’s made.

It’s important that the accomplishments of a good leader be apparent. But we cannot confidently say an adequate amount of accomplishment has come out of the leadership of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It’s possible the administration reached the same conclusion. Where should we go now? The College of Arts and Sciences is the breadbasket of the University in many ways.

The new dean will have to recognize that healthy, supportive and innovative teaching and institutional practices will translate to overall university health.

We particularly see a vital need for improvement in advising quality, something that the University as a whole has put on indefinite hold.

The College must also be uniquely mindful of a global shift in  educational focus. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are now the most important fields.

UVM recognizes this, and we’ve recently made a historic investment in the STEM fields. A good dean will continue to foster this change.

The prospective dean must be able to champion the role of the liberal arts in civil society.

It’s essential that the new dean focus education within the College  with keen consideration of the world students will enter in to — a world full of scientists.