Kimberly Kempf-Leonard delivered her first state of the college address as dean of Arts & Sciences to a packed Floyd Theatre on Friday Sept. 19. A & S faculty stood lining the back wall to hear about the future of the college.
While Leonard assured faculty of her commitment to the job, she did not shy away from mentioning the strengths and weaknesses of the college. One weakness, she said, is division among departments in A&S.
“We need to work together,” said Leonard. “I can’t escape the symbolic coincidence that my arrival here and this observation coincide with the actual silos coming down.”
Leonard addressed problems with communication, diversity, graduate enrollment and faculty salaries.
“Our size is an obstacle to easy communication,” said Leonard. Weekly ‘Monday Memos’ are just one of Leonard’s solutions to this problem. Leonard also urged faculty to communicate their individual accomplishments in their field. She believes that “active scholars make the best teachers.”
She looks to bolster the reputation of Arts & Sciences both on and off campus.
“I’ve been very disappointed to discover the profile we appear to have on campus. Despite our award-winning faculty, our foundational role in education of everyone – including those in the professional colleges – and the prominence that liberal arts and sciences is given in the overall mission statement of the University of Louisville, we barely get mentioned in the publications that highlight our campus.”
Leonard praised the faculty for their achievements and the success of their students. She called U of L “a rising star among public research universities.”
Her tone was optimistic when she spoke of her new position on campus.
“There is much cause for celebrating in the college of arts and sciences,” she told faculty, although “we do not have a majestic laser show planned.”
Photo Courtesy U of L.