A New Year With New Opportunities

January 10, 2022
Hollis Robbins

Happy 2022! I am happy to see us back in person teaching, learning, making art, making music, and engaging in the life of the mind.

We have accomplished so much in the School of Arts & Humanities in the past few years and as we begin the Spring semester, I would like to reflect on some of our individual and collective successes. Congratulations to Communication & Media Studies Chair Ed Beebout for overseeing the completion of our new Media Innovation Lab! We will have a formal opening reception in March where will be formally thanking generous donors from the Manitou Fund, Kevin and Rosemary McNeely, who have enabled us to purchase cutting-edge equipment to train student filmmakers.

We will shortly have a new Cinematic Arts & Technology major, thanks to the work of Ed and of Talena Sanders. Congratulations to Talena for being the first A&H faculty member to have a film – “The Coronation” – screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Congratulations to Jenny Bent, who was invited to guest conduct at Carnegie Hall and will bring her ensemble, SonoVoce.. So many of our faculty have had creative work published or performed this year: see our Spotlight page for stories on Kim Hester-Williams, Anne Goldman, Stefan Kiesbye, Doug Leibinger, Gillian Conoley, Letha Ch’ien, Patrick Johnson, Lynne Morrow, Gina Baleria, Wendy Ostroff, Laura Odeh, Kathleen Winter, Malinalli Lopez, Aaron Westman, Raffi Garabedian, and others.

Congratulations to Mercy Romero for two prestigious fellowships: the Schomburg Center Scholar in Residence Fellowship and the Mellon Foundation Letras Boricuas Fellowship. Congratulations to Theresa Burruel Stone on her CAE Concha Delgado Gaitán Fellowship. Congratulations to John Sullins for his multiple international invitations to speak on robot ethics and artificial intelligence. Congratulations to Janet Hess for being awarded a California Humanities Relief Grant. 

And congratulations to our A&H alumni who reach out and tell us their stories, notably Jenna Valle-Riestra, who is now the press secretary for the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

We say farewell to Greg Sarris, who retired in December after sixteen years in his position as the Graton Endowed Chair in Native American Studies, and who was the inaugural winner of the Arts & Humanities Dean’s Teaching Award in 2021. Greg will be continuing to serve in an advisory role as we expand our Native American Studies minor to a major, as we search for the new Graton Endowed Chair, and as we anticipate a second Endowed Chair in Native American Studies, once our NAMS major is fully established, thanks to the generosity and confidence of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. Thank you to Janet Hess and Erica Tom for leading this endeavor.

We are anticipating a vibrant and fulfilling Spring 2022 semester, though I am melancholy it will be my last as Dean. I look forward to a satisfying semester of teaching and learning together, in American Multicultural Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Communication and Media Studies, Art and Art History, English, Liberal Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, Music, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Theatre Arts, and Dance.

Welcome Back!

Hollis Robbins

Dean of Arts & Humanities