Greetings, I hope you are well and enjoying the spring (after a very long winter). The 2013-2014 academic year was quite an amazing one.
On a bittersweet note we bid farewell to one of our most senior and much beloved faculty, Professor Cynthia Mahmood, as she moves into the next stage of her career. Her amazing courses and wonderful mentoring of students will be sorely missed but we are happy for her as she assumes a prestigious position as an Endowed Professor at Central College in Iowa.
On the purely positive side, we had enormous interest in our first call for applications to the new Ph.D. program. From the very large pool of applicants we brought 10 young scholars out for interviews and will have six of them joining us in the fall along with our first graduate student who is already on site, Angie Lederach, for an initial cohort of seven students.
The year also involved revisiting and reworking some of the courses in the major, in our ongoing attempts to keep increasing the quality of the major and at the same time broaden the impact of anthropology on the whole university.
We also met with the planning group to lay the plans for our new home as of 2017-18: the second floor of the east building in the Campus Crossroads project. The floor plans are near completion and they are amazing. Faculty and graduate student offices, teaching and research labs, meeting and seminar rooms, classrooms and dynamic workspaces, many areas for informal learning, and even great spaces for students to “hang out”—all in the same place. This has the potential to be an amazing space for the whole anthropology community.
Finally, it has been an amazing year for the faculty and students in research, teaching, learning, and collaborating. I am blessed to be chair of such a wonderful department and am excited for next year and all the challenges and successes it will bring.
Enjoy this brief newsletter as a snapshot of some of the highlights of the last year and please be sure to a) join our Facebook page if you have not already done so, and b) drop us a line now and then to let us know how (and what) you are doing—we are always excited to hear from all of you.
Agustín Fuentes, Professor and Chair