Your COLFA dean matters, right?

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Emmanuelle Maher

Editorial Board

College of Liberal and Fine Arts dean finalist candidates have passed, and with two remaining, the COLFA Dean Search Advisory Committee is coming closer to making its selection. In these forums, the candidates present their vision for the college and UTSA as a whole. Additionally, the forums provide an opportunity for the candidates to field questions from the students and faculty who call COLFA their home.

While a sizable faculty group has consistently attended, students have been nearly absent from these forums. Because the forums were held at 8:45 a.m., student participation was difficult to cultivate. The early start times may not have been intentional, but they act as a deterrent to commuter students, who make up the majority of the student body. Thus, the candidates addressed their speeches to audiences of mostly faculty members, and student voices were largely left unaddressed.

The COLFA faculty and staff attending have touched on numerous points concerning funding and student success, but the only people who can truly represent students are students themselves. As a college that houses over 5,900 students across numerous departments, COLFA must appoint a dean who can serve a diverse student body with a range of needs.

Liberal and fine arts students, whose majors are considered “add-ons” or “soft skills,” must make their voices heard. COLFA needs a dean who values liberal and fine arts as much as students do and will provide the resources necessary to defy the stigma associated with being a liberal or fine arts student. This means advocating for better COLFA funding, improving infrastructure for the McKinney Humanities building and increasing non-tenure track faculty pay.

COLFA needs a dean who will actively engage with students rather than wait for students to come to them. Opposed to leaving students wondering if their emails to the dean will ever be read, a dean who is visibly engaging with the UTSA community and actively listening to students’ concerns demonstrates their willingness to serve the people they represent.

Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member, make your voice heard, even if you have been unable to attend the forums. Contact the provost, and let her know what key aspects are important to you; don’t let your needs go unacknowledged.