|Letter from the Dean|
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Although the tragic and despicable events of September 11 took place thousands of miles from Seattle, many of us have struggled with grief and uncertainty since that day. My heart goes out to those of you who lost family or friends in the terrorist attacks.
As we try to comprehend these unthinkable acts, many questions arise. What incited such hateful actions? What will be the global impact of these terrorist acts? How should we think of personal liberties in such an age? What can we do to insure a more secure and more just world?
Some questions are unanswerable. But many can be explored with the help of political scientists, historians, economists, geographers, psychologists, and others who have spent years researching these issues.
As Dean, I often refer to the College of Arts and Sciences as the “heart” of the University. I talk about the importance of a liberal arts education as the foundation for understanding the world around us and preparing students to live in a changing world. Never have these words resonated more than in the past few months. Since September 11, Arts and Sciences faculty and staff have been looked to as an invaluable resource for students and the community.
Faculty and staff responded to the tragedy immediately—long before students returned to campus for autumn quarter. Recognizing the public’s need for more information, the College’s Jackson School of International Studies quickly organized a series of seven lectures, open to the community, covering topics such as Islam, the Taliban, women in the Middle East, and terrorism. The lectures were moved from Kane Hall to larger venues, including Hec Edmundson Pavilion, to accommodate audiences that have numbered into the thousands.
The Henry Art Gallery quickly mounted an exhibit, “Presence and Loss: Views of New York,” which pays homage to New York City, its citizens, and its artists. The exhibit runs through December 16.
The College’s Curriculum Transformation Project teamed up with several other UW units to present a forum for faculty, “The Pedagogy of Diversity Post September 11,” reflecting concerns about growing prejudice following the terrorist attacks. More information is available online at http://depts.washington.edu/ctp/September11.htm.
Many A&S programs explore related issues as part of their ongoing work. As its name suggests, the Center for Ethnic Conflict and Conflict Resolution focuses on why, and how, some conflicts escalate. The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma studies how journalists—including the thousands who descended upon New York City—are affected by witnessing and reporting on violent crime.
Our nation is entering a difficult period, with more questions than answers. The College is here, as always, to serve as a resource for students and the larger community. I hope you will reach out to us for information and perspective. We will continue to reach out to you.