To a standing room only crowd, Western Michigan University Dean Alexander Enyedi offered a challenge he described as emerging from both hope and realism at last Friday’s College of Arts and Sciences State of the College Address. “This is a time to lead,” he said, “and the people who need to lead are in this room right now. Let’s be clear—no one else is going to do this for us. We are in this together, and there’s a whole lot riding on it.”
Enyedi urged constituents to do what liberal arts champions “do best,” to ask hard questions of him, of one another and of their leaders, indicating that “this is what a liberal arts education is all about. Not about blind obedience to supposed intellectual authority, but about nurturing the intellectual lights that burn in all of us. Demanding accountability of ourselves, of one another, and of leadership is a duty we share.”
“At an institution that values transparency and genuinely inclusive two-way communication, your questions—my questions, our questions—can’t help but be welcomed with open arms,” he continued, indicating that we should consider both what we are currently investing in as a university and “what we want to look like when the dust clears.”
In addition, Enyedi challenged members of the College of Arts and Sciences community “to honestly assess the effectiveness and relevancy of what you provide to our students. Students and their families have choices—is your unit providing a world-class educational experience that makes you an obvious first choice?”
Enyedi gave a preview of the college recipients of the university-wide 2013 WMU Distinguished Achievement Award winners and the 2013 Make a Difference Award winner. He also reminded the audience of last year’s CAS Faculty Achievement Award winners and CAS Staff Excellence Award winners.
After highlighting faculty and staff who have reached an impressive 40, 35, 30 and 25 years of service, Enyedi recognized the new faculty members, noting that they represent the “renewal” and “sustainability” of the college. “This is just a sample of the dedicated faculty and staff who comprise the great College of Arts and Sciences at WMU,” he said proudly.
Enyedi concluded with an invitation for continued dialogue, announcing that the college will host an open forum at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in 2028 Brown Hall. He urged the audience to “take seriously the immense challenges that lay before us, exploring both the possibilities of action and the consequences of inaction. Go back to your buildings and your colleagues. Share your concerns with your fellow faculty, staff, and students.”