Applicant Stresses Synergy

Original post by  via The Flat Hat

Conley is one of five Dean of Arts and Sciences finalists. CAROLINE WREN MARTIN / THE FLAT HAT

The hiring process for one of the most important administrative positions at the College of William and Mary is public and multi-faceted, qualities that were demonstrated during the vetting of the second Dean of Arts and Sciences candidate Tuesday.

Candidate Kate Conley comes from a background in the liberal arts.  She has served as a French professor and the associate dean of the faculty for the Arts and Humanities at Dartmouth College.

“At its core, a liberal arts education must stay grounded in history,” Conley said. “Every liberal arts university strives to maintain learning in the past along with creating a spark for moving forward in the future. The successful liberal arts education cultivates the imagination.”

Adapting to changes in what students desire to study was one of Conley’s top priorities, along with the integration of technology and sustainability into campus life.

“Changes to the curriculum must be made to respond to new populations and generational changes,” Conley said.

Financial hardship was one topic raised by concerned faculty.

Recalling the financial difficulties universities faced in the mid-1970s during another economic downtown, Conley expressed optimism about the College’s capability to weather the current economic situation.

Yet she was reluctant to name what specifically she would do in regard to startup funds for finding new faculty and the extent of her support for the new fine arts complex.

Conley was equally diplomatic when it came to a question about Obama’s recent proposal for a scorecard for universities, raising the issue of federal and state oversight of universities.