Faculty voice:

Pamela Whitten:
Happy New Year!

Oct. 30, 2013

Pamela Whitten is the dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media.

Some people think of Jan. 1 as the start of a new year. I consider the last week of August, when students and faculty launch another school year, to be the real New Year's. And, this is absolutely my favorite time of the year. All you need to do is walk the halls to feel the excitement and energy that comes with all the fresh faces and ideas among the students and faculty. This year, we also have some fresh paint, carpet (yes, we are replacing the 30-year-old carpet!) and new furnishings in the mix.

In recognition that the pulse of this college comes from our students, we are launching some new, cool student space in the building! In early September, we will host the official opening of "The Avenue" on the first floor of the CAS building.

"The Avenue" runs along the west corridor of the CAS building and is home to an array of space dedicated to our undergraduates. They access advising off "The Avenue," as well as career services and internship consultation. In addition, we have added comfortable spaces for student collaboration. With financial support from Microsoft and super star alumnus Craig Murray, CAS students helped design these great new spaces.

CAS has a great reputation for attracting and graduating amazingly creative students who now shape the landscape of many business sectors and nonprofits around the world. Until now, however, we haven’t had dedicated, prime space right on the main floor for students to get together after class and hammer out that next big idea.

The most essential ingredient of a world-class education is first and foremost the caliber of faculty who teach, mentor and open minds and doors for our students. As CAS has evolved and substantially increased its emphasis on health and risk communication, emerging technology and its quality-of-life implications at the interpersonal level, on society and internationally, funding for faculty-led research has substantially increased.

That translates into extraordinary new opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research and applications. It also requires an intensified level of recruiting for faculty who are involved in leading research and also share our passion for creative approaches to teaching and learning.

We have eight new faculty members joining the CAS team this school year along with a new chairperson for the Department of Communication. In the next year, we will be striving to fill an additional 15 new faculty positions.

I encourage you to reach out to new students, faculty and staff, and help make them feel a part of the Spartan family!

Please join me in wishing the entire CAS team a fantastic year ahead—GO GREEN!