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Dean's Report - Fall 2011

The turn of a new year is always a time for reflection on events of the past year and hopes for the coming year. As we consider a new major capital campaign, we are spending more time than usual in planning for the future of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. This is a rewarding task.

We are excited to be planning for our role in the campaign that will be “Powering a Great University to New Academic Heights.” Through the coming campaign we will enhance programs that transform the educational experience of students who will be tomorrow’s leaders in business, politics, government, and the non-profit sector. We are committed to have our programs and departments be counted among the top twenty among public universities in the nation. Programs within Economics, Sociology, the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, have reached this status while the departments of Political Science and Urban and Regional Planning are solidly in the top 20. We are truly poised to power a great college to new heights.

One newest student centered initiative, the Social Science Scholars Program, became a reality this academic year. Students entering their junior year who have a strong academic record and leadership and service experience are eligible for this program. The finalists for this competitive program were interviewed by a panel of five people: two instructors in the leadership and professional development seminar that the scholars are taking this semester, a faculty representative, and two outside members who are alumni or friends of the college. Through this process 18 students were chosen to be Social Science Scholars, the highest accolade that our College bestows on a student.

During the spring semester these student will plan extracurricular learning experiences for next summer and their senior year. These activities can involve research projects, foreign study or internships with private firms, non-profit organizations or government agencies. They can receive financial assistance of up to $5,000 for approved plans of activity.

I attended the first meeting of the Scholars seminar and it was incredibly gratifying to hear how excited these excellent and accomplished students are about this special learning experience. The Social Science Scholars Program is to be supported entirely by the contributions of alumni and friends of the College. It is one example of our plans to “Power a Great College to New Academic Heights.”

Best wishes for the New Year,
David W. Rasmussen