College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Dean’s Welcome

With the Spring semester upon us there is a lot for COLFA faculty, staff, and students to be proud of.

After a remarkable increase in the college student body of 16.5% in Fall 2016 over the previous fall, we now have a nearly 8% increase over last spring. It is likely that these increases herald an end to the dormancy in enrollment growth seen in the liberal arts across the nation in recent years.

COLFA is seeing the greatest growth of any UTSA college, and remains the largest college in number of students, faculty, departments, and degree programs.

Our new programs play a big role in keeping the liberal arts fresh and relevant. The Sociology Public Health bachelor’s degree program started six year ago now enrolls over 550 students, while the Medical Humanities degree, just over one year old, has 582 declared majors. The new Global Analysis program has 106 majors already. These programs join our many solid long-standing programs in offering students many appealing options for intellectual exploration and career preparation. Other new program concepts on the horizon include a B.A. in Law and Politics, a Global Analysis master’s degree, and a Sociology doctoral track in the Demography Ph.D. program.

Behind all this growth is our resolve to manage our instructional budget and teaching assignments with utmost care, making sure that we are offering exactly the classes that students need to graduate on time.

Going forward we have a special initiative to bring more graduate students into our programs. With the generosity of our donors we’ve created new Dean’s Fellowships in every COLFA department for new master’s as well as doctoral students.

COLFA is growing its research remarkably too. As 2016 closed the college reached a new high in external research grant funding of $4,905,463 for the year, a 36% increase over the prior fiscal year, and a 51% increase over two years ago. Faculty research productivity in books, articles, and citations is also at an all-time high. This means that COLFA students are learning directly from the creators of new knowledge, and in many cases participating in the research and creative activity themselves.

Speaking of research, I want to encourage everyone to participate in our 17th Annual COLFA Student Research Conference on March 23. There is still time to sign up at http:tiny.cc/colfa-research-conference. Last year we awarded $8,150 in prize money among the record 147 graduate and undergraduate student participants, and we plan for an even bigger event this year. The Research Conference is one of many ways that COLFA students work closely with faculty mentors, increasing the value of their degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

Here’s hoping you have a rewarding and enjoyable Spring semester.

Daniel J. Gelo
Dean, College of Liberal and Fine Arts
Stumberg Distinguished University Chair

 

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