updatedlongviewlogo.pngWelcome to the Long View blog, where Dean Christopher P. Long and college community leaders share news, thoughts, and views on issues related to the arts and humanities.

 

To Teach and to Delight

Spring at Michigan State UniversityThe last two weeks of March this year brought sadness twice over to the College of Arts & Letters. On March 18, 2017, we lost Anna Norris, a beloved professor of French Literature who taught at Michigan State University for 18 years. On March 30, 2017, we lost Jim Seaton...

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"...No Arts; No Letters; No Society..."

White House with black fence in front In early November last year, I returned to the Leviathan.

In it, Thomas Hobbes grapples with the question of sovereignty and considers the human condition in a state of nature in which there is: 

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The Liberal Arts Endeavor: The Arts of Liberty in a Time of Uncertainty

Theatre at MSUEven if, as Hannah Arendt suggests, “we are always educating for a world that is or is becoming out of joint,” 1 our commitment to general education as “a distinctive cornerstone of the arts of liberty” gains urgency in times of uncertainty...

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Charting a Path to Intellectual Leadership, Then Following It

West Circle pathwaysAs a junior faculty member, I attended every possible workshop on tenure and promotion I could find. Inevitably, however, as the shared wisdom of those who had successfully been tenured and promoted washed over me, my anxiety would slowly rise until...

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Open Letter on the Executive Order on Immigration

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff in the College of Arts & Letters:

Many of you have written to express your concern about the executive order signed by the President of the United States on January 27, 2017, that bars Syrian refugees and blocks citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States...

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Between Beginning and Routine

Sunrise over Kedzie HallWith the new year comes the deluge of resolutions. This ritual of new beginnings affords us an opportunity to begin anew, for, as the ancient proverb reminds us, “well begun is half done” (Aristotle, Politics1303b30).

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Putting the Liberal Arts into Action

Sometimes in our efforts to advocate for the importance of a liberal arts education, we fail to demonstrate what it means to put the arts of liberty into practice.

It’s easier to speak about the values of critical thinking, ethical imagination, excellent communication, and global interconnection...

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Open Letter to the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University

Michigan State UniversityWe in the College of Arts & Letters seek to advance the core values of Michigan State University — quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity — by practicing inclusion as a matter of institutional habit.

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Our Debt to the Future

Morrill Hall 1955I am fortunate to work at an institution that is proud of its status as the pioneering land-grant institution in the United States. But that status, like the word pioneering itself, is not without a troubling history.

 

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Critical Diversity in a Digital Age

Illustration resembaling the Fibonacci SequenceLast year we developed a strategic plan in the College of Arts & Letters that called for a cluster hire in culturally engaged digital humanities that focuses on humanities questions of race, inclusion, cultural preservation, global interconnectedness, and engaged scholarship.

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Nurturing Fulfilling Scholarly Lives

In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, there is a famous passage in which he reminds us that “to be happy takes a complete lifetime; for one swallow does not make a spring, nor does one fine day; and similarly one day or a brief period of happiness does not make a person blessed and happy” (Nic. Eth., 1098a16–20).

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Bringing Your CV to Life

Traditionally, a curriculum vitae (CV) is an articulation of one’s qualifications and accomplishments in an academic context. The Latin root of the term suggests the extent to which the CV indicates a “course of life.”...

 
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Twitter as a Platform of Collaboration

Whenever I talk to faculty and students about the use of social media in the academy, I advocate for a community building approach. The idea is relatively simple: communication has the power to enrich or impoverish our relationships with one another...

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Finding Your Place, Leaving a Mark

Dear College of Arts & Letters Class of 2020,

Welcome to Michigan State University!

As you begin your journey in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University, let me tell you a secret.

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Investing in Humanities Publishing

LongView_Aug8.jpgTo be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the headquarters of the Association of American Universities in Washington, D.C. early last week to take part in a discussion about a new model for open access digital monograph publishing in the humanities. 

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Responding to Complexity with Nuance and Grace

LongView_July14.jpgIn the wake of last week’s violence, we have again become caught up in the fraught dichotomy into which public discourse always seems to force us. It is as if somehow the human capacity to hold complex thoughts consistently together dissolves the moment ideas enter the public sphere.

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MSU Shadows

LongView_July1.jpgA year ago today, as I began my tenure as Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University, I made reference to a passage by Peter Raible, one that draws from Deuteronomy, in which he reminds us that “we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.”

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5 Things That Facilitate Academic Collaboration

LongView_June27.jpgLists seem increasingly to be the current vernacular of the internet. So, as I considered how I might share a few things I have learned during my first year as Dean of College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University that facilitate academic collaboration, I thought I’d try the idiom of the list:

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Going Viral with Your Scholarship

LongView_May10.jpgIn a way, it all began with this picture. I was attending my first Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) conference in Ann Arbor to talk about digital scholarship and I didn’t know many people.

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Learning to Play in a More Inclusive Key

LongView_April25.jpgOn three different days in three different meetings, the same note was sounded. It struck a cord that resonated with me as I listened to faculty from three groups talk about their experience in the College of Arts & Letters.

 

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Arts & Letters Scholars

LongView_March2.jpgEarly last fall, our Director of Marketing and Communications, Ryan Kilcoyne, came to me with a pressing issue that required a decanal decision.

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Practicing Inclusion as a Matter of Institutional Habit

LongView_Feb16.jpgInstitutions of higher education across the country have long talked about diversity and inclusion. Many have established offices of equity or inclusion and hired staff to ensure that the institution is living up to its promise to foster an inclusive culture.

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I am allergic to cynicism.

LongView_Jan11.jpgI have been owning up to this affliction in each of the introductory department meetings I have had with faculty across the College during my first semester as Dean. 

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Engaged Scholarship

LongView_Dec23.jpgTo speak of “applied” scholarship is to divorce theory from practice in a way that impoverishes both. This, at least, is the insight that has led me to adopt the language of “engagement” rather than that of “application” in our 2015 Fall Planning Letter.

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Catalytic Opportunities

LongView_Dec12.jpgI’ve begun thinking about strategic initiatives as catalytic. In chemistry, a catalyst causes a chemical reaction without itself being affected. But this isn’t exactly what I have in mind, because I don’t mind if the catalyst itself is enriched by its own activity.

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Habits of Public Writing

LongView_Dec4.jpgWhen I write regularly, I think I'm a better administrator — probably a better husband and father, certainly a better scholar. Writing affords me an opportunity to slow down and reflect, to craft a thought or articulate an idea. It gives me pause, and it opens a space for me to think holistically and strategically. Writing pulls me out of the busy-ness that captures so much of the time each day.

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A Transformative Campus

LongView_Nov12.jpgThere are twelve entrances to the sprawling campus of Michigan State University. Four of them (Farm Lane, Shaw Lane, Wilson Road, and Service Road) count twice as you can enter from either end, but each is a separate entrance.

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Preparing (and Caring for) Transformative Scholars in the Arts & Humanities

LongView_Oct19.jpgA theme of Dean Chris Long’s first message here at The Long View is one that resonates deeply with me: In order to succeed, institutions and their people need others to care for and about them. At MSU, we are fortunate to build upon the work of generations of others—students, faculty, administrators, and alumni—who have cared for and about our programs in the College of Arts & Letters.

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Paths to Explore

LongView_Aug31.jpgDear College of Arts & Letters students, As the new Dean of the College of Arts & Letters it is my pleasure to welcome you to Michigan State University. Many of you have already experienced the network of pathways that figure prominently throughout the MSU campus.

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A Living Place of Education

LongView_July28.jpgThe places we inhabit habituate us. The virtues they cultivate are grounded in the values they embody. In 1855, a natural opening in the oak forest of the Burr farm was selected as a fitting site for the creation of the Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.)

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The Edge of the Oak Opening

LongView_July1_15.jpgAs I begin my tenure as Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University I find myself thinking of these lines adapted from Deuteronomy 6:10-12 by Peter Raible: “We build on foundations we did not lay. We warm ourselves at fires we did not light. We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We profit from persons we did not know.”

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