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From the Dean

December 10, 2019

December 2019

Dear Arts & Letters Community:

As the Fall 2019 semester – and the year 2019 – draw to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past, while also thinking about the future as we move into a new decade. Being the creative heart and hub of the university, our community connections continue to build as we collectively shape the culture and Cal State LA community through our many programs and events. This semester saw some extraordinary developments: we welcomed eight new full-time faculty; hosted over 60 events including the launch of our inaugural “Connect the Dots Day;” and welcomed muralist and alumnus Kent Twitchell back to campus for an exhibit of his work, organized by an undergraduate student. In these waning weeks of the semester, we have showcased the work of our students in concerts, exhibitions (including the very popular “Defiant” exhibit of graduating seniors in the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery), and at our semi-annual Public Speaking Showcase.

Public Speaking Showcase Finalists
Communication Studies Public Speaking Showcase Finalists

It is exciting to think about a new decade; a blank page ready to be written. I recently shared an article, “The Most Unexpected Workplace Trend Coming in 2020: the Return of the Liberal Arts Major” and it really made my day reading predictions that echoed trends, “accelerating innovation and its complex impacts on society will lead to a greater demand for the critical thinking and communication skills you learn studying the liberal arts”, says Stillman in this article as she continues to share experiences from Tech CEOs. With that said, Winter session is right around the corner! The College is offering classes in: Written Expression in the Arts; Argumentation; Communication of Race, Class, and Gender; and Contemporary Spain. Winter session affords a good opportunity to catch up on a required class or an elective you’ve been meaning to look into. You can find the schedule of classes and registration information here

There will be more contemplation of the future when the College of Arts & Letters leadership team of faculty department chairs, resource and advising managers, and others, head to an off-campus retreat to talk about how to even more effectively advance our mission of transforming lives through the study and practice of the arts and humanities. We are also looking forward to our second annual “Humanities Day.” Mark your calendars for March 10, 2020, when Arts & Letters will once again be taking over the main walkway with pop-up performances, puzzles and games, and information about summer enrollment. The day is anchored by a reading of excerpts of Karen McDermott’s Nicholl award-winning screenplay, “Lullabies of Lajuala” at 12:15 PM and a screening of the Toni Morrison biopic, “The Pieces I Am” in the evening.

In recent weeks, I have noticed a recurring theme in the meetings and presentations that I have attended, and one that is particularly fitting at this time of year: kindness. President Covino talked about kindness at the Academic Senate’s annual retreat on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; a student talked about kindness at the public speaking showcase; and our advising team approaches every student interaction with kindness (as well as professionalism). So, during this season of giving, I want to share the spirit of kindness with you and wish you and your loved ones a joyous New Year!

Warm best wishes,
Dr. Linda Essig, Dean