College of Arts and Humanities

Dean’s Corner: December 2023


Dear Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends,

As the first semester of our new College of Arts and Humanities draws to a close, I wanted to point to a handful of highlights from the last few months to underscore our successful launch and emphasize the exciting potential we possess.

Even though this is a “new” college, some of our initiatives have deep and long-standing roots. For example, we celebrated two milestone anniversaries this Fall.

The Writing Lab celebrated its 40th anniversary. The lab — originally known as the Writing Center — is housed in Robert M. Cooper Library but is operated by the Department of English under the talented direction of Chelsea Murdock.

Even more impressively, the Declamation Contest celebrated 50 years of gatherings in October. The event, organized by our Department of Languages, hosted over 300 middle and high school students from all over South Carolina and even Georgia.

At a time when language enrollments are down nationally, and there seems to be less interest in developing the ability to communicate with others in their own tongue, it was more than moving to see so many young people committed to this endeavor. Not to mention, they memorized poetry. That was expected as part of a standard education only two or three generations ago, but it seems to be disappearing from most schools today.

In a much more recent development, this Fall also saw the launch of our new Department of Interdisciplinary Studies after many years of deliberation and planning. It is led by Interim Chair Cameron Bushnell. We were delighted with the news that several faculty members have requested partial and even complete transfer of their academic home into this new department, a real sign it is responding to a need. Initially conceived as a home for our existing unaffiliated undergraduate and graduate programs, it will also serve as an incubator for new programs. Stay tuned for future developments!

The Department of History and Geography has also launched its new emphasis on Legal History. As you read this, a committee is conducting a national search for a new faculty member with expertise in the history of law to join us in Fall 2024. I will have more to share about our College and pre-law in one of my upcoming columns.

This Fall also saw the world’s premier piano manufacturer, Steinway & Sons, officially designate Clemson University as an All-Steinway School. This caps the process which began last spring with a major donation by Bob and Kaye Stanzione to replace all the pianos in the Department of Performing Arts with new ones made by Steinway. I still have to pinch myself that this is not a dream.

Our faculty have also been hard at work building the framework of the new college. This past semester was spent drafting a new set of bylaws. I eagerly anticipate our collective work next semester to formulate a strategic plan that will help set our priorities, our agenda and our path for the next several years.

I will end by wishing all of you a restful, peaceful, joyous and rejuvenating holiday season and a smooth transition to 2024.

Go Tigers!

Nicholas Vazsonyi, Dean
College of Arts and Humanities

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