A Message from the Dean
For this year’s edition of the College of Humanities magazine, we decided to take our readers on a tour of some unique spaces in our college. Some are newly under construction; others are being renovated and reopened as we prepare for what we hope is our first truly post-pandemic semester. Each of these spaces offers a unique point of entry to our college and collectively they underscore the evolving role of the humanities on our campus and in our community and remind us that our college is something more than a collection of seminar rooms, lecture halls, and faculty offices.
Farthest away among these spaces is the Taft-Nicholson Center for Environmental Humanities Education in Montana’s Centennial Valley. The past two summers, we’ve been unable to offer our usual set of courses, workshops, and retreats in this beautiful setting, so the center’s director, Mark Bergstrom, piloted a program that you will read about here, bringing researchers and artists from across the university together. This summer we are resuming our usual programming, but we will continue to host this interdisciplinary cohort, adding a humanities and arts perspective to scientific research. Here in Salt Lake City, we will be renovating the lobby of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building to provide a student success hub, that will make resources such as career and financial counseling, academic advising, and student activities more accessible to our humanities majors. Over the years, our college has benefited from the generosity of quite a few donors, none perhaps as impactful as the O.C. Tanner Foundation. The O.C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center has served for decades as the front door of our college, bringing to our community internationally renowned visitors, providing support for secondary
school teachers, and fostering cutting-edge research by our faculty and students. This coming year, under current Director Erika George, the center will be celebrating its 35th anniversary with another season of diverse and engaging speakers and events you can read about here. You can also get acquainted with our wonderful alum Edna Anderson Taylor who, together with her husband Jerry, has made it possible for us to transform the Communication Institute into a more dynamic collaboration with local partners in order to promote responsible and ethical journalistic practices within our current media environment.
The past year and the one to come offer us opportunities both to recover some of our familiar traditions while pioneering new approaches to teaching and new areas of research. This May, we returned to the Huntsman Center to hold our college convocation and to celebrate in-person with nearly a thousand graduates. The occasion was made more memorable by the contributions of our student speaker, Vivian Lee, and our distinguished alum, Doug Bowser. We’ve included their inspiring words in this magazine as each describes their unique pathway through an education in the humanities. We are also going through a significant transition in our administration. This will be the last time I will be introducing Perspectives. Just as the university as a whole is turning to new leadership, our college will now be guided by a new dean, Hollis Robbins, who you will get to meet briefly in these pages. I know that Dean Robbins brings to our college the experience, vision, and commitment to humanistic inquiry that will make her a successful and distinguished leader for the next chapter of our history and I look forward to seeing the future spaces the College of Humanities will occupy.
Stuart K. CulverOutgoing Dean, College of Humanities
University of Utah