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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

From the Dean

Lee M. Cohen, PhD

Lee M. Cohen, PhD, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Psychology

Every year when I sit down to write my message for The View from Ventress and have the opportunity to review the stories that will be included, I experience feelings of immense pride and awe. We are a large, complex College, one that includes hundreds of individuals, but the frequency with which our faculty, staff, students, and alumni are nationally or internationally recognized for their contributions and accomplishments is nothing short of amazing. I am also struck by the fact that these individual accomplishments may seem unrelated to a larger mission or purpose and that they simply happen because of the many incredibly talented people we have in, or affiliated with, the College. Without a doubt, having great people is necessary but not sufficient to account for what you will see as you make your way through the pages of this newsletter.

Alvin Toffler, an American writer, futurist, and businessman said, “You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” It is for this reason that the College has been working to develop a strategic plan that will help ensure that we continue (and dare I say expand upon) this incredible trajectory. This plan focuses on five main priorities:

  1. Strengthen and embrace a cohesive College identity.
  2. Enhance efforts to recruit and retain faculty, staff, and students.
  3. Strengthen and promote existing and new academic offerings.
  4. Advance research, scholarship, and creative activity.
  5. Empower people and pursue diversity through promotion of equitable and inclusive practices.

This past academic year, we have also been deliberate in joining in with the rest of the University of Mississippi community in celebrating the 60th anniversary of integration on our campus and acknowledging the vast and lasting positive impact that James Meredith—an alumnus of the College—has had on our university. Vice Chancellor Shawnboda Mead, along with the rest of her team in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, did a remarkable job of hosting and coordinating the numerous events that spanned the academic year. The College was an active and regular contributor to these events, and you will learn more about our engagement in this celebration in the pages ahead. Moving forward, we will continue to strive to create an environment of learning and discovery where all faculty, staff, and students are supported and can expect respect and a sense of belonging as they pursue their best work.

It has been an outstanding year, and the future is bright. I hope that as you turn the pages of the many stories in this publication you, too, will experience feelings of pride and awe for the many things that are going on in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi.