When Dean Kent Neely exited the College of Arts and Sciences to take the Provost position at Oregon State University, my life also changed. I put aside my plans to retire from SIUE after more than 30 years in the Department of Philosophy, instead accepting the appointment as Dean of the College during the nation-wide search for a new Dean.
When I walked into the Dean's office in Peck Building on July 1, 2008, I went from a job I knew very well as a Philosophy Professor to new duties on a scale that was far greater than I had experienced as a Chair or on numerous campus committees through the years. I quickly found out that being Dean is a bit like being ringmaster in a three ring circus.
It means balancing the needs of students and faculty without dropping any of the College's 19 twirling academic plates. I've also had to pull a few rabbits out of the hat to find classroom and laboratory space, hire exemplary faculty, and fund the purchase or repair of equipment during these extraordinary economic times, where needs far outweigh resources from both state and contributors. I've felt like a tightrope walker, high above the center ring, trying to maintain equilibrium between the needs of growing numbers of CAS majors, while still providing service to increasing numbers of professional school majors and general education needs for all SIUE students. Jumping through all those hoops has been a challenge, but with the outstanding Department chairs, superior faculty, and dedicated staff of the College, not to mention the generous community friends who provide contributions, we've still managed to keep excellence at the forefront of all we do.
Finally, our "circus" wouldn't be complete without our alumni, who serve as brilliant marquees in communities across the nation and around the world, advertising the high caliber of students and the equally high quality education we provide at SIUE. This issue of Arts & Sciences Today puts the spotlight on some of those alumni stories, so take a ringside seat and enjoy.
John R. Danley