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For most of us, life since March of this year has been one long process of adaptation. Our lives, work, and studies have been transformed by the crises and proliferating uncertainties of 2020.

But even before any of that, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts was already working to redefine itself. We wanted to rearticulate and recommit to our core mission as a college. It’s something that I had planned to do when I became dean in 2019, and something that—like almost everything else—has had to adapt to the challenges and changes going on in the world outside of campus.

Articulating the college’s mission, vision, and values for the creation of new knowledge today and the next generation of learners was a collaborative and inclusive process, with input from close to 1,000 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others. We met in small groups and in town halls, listening deeply to what people in our community care about now and are concerned about for the future.

And even in the midst of global and national crises occurring as we did this work, one message was clear: The liberal arts have never been more relevant.

The challenges that we collectively face are daunting and manifold. Sustainability. COVID-19. How to build an anti-racist society. How to protect and preserve American democracy.

If we are to face these challenges, the path forward relies heavily on the actions at the heart of LSA’s newly articulated mission—to expand the limits of human understanding and to educate the next generation of rigorous and empathetic thinkers and creators. That combination of creativity, rigor, and empathy is essential.

The work we have done on LSA’s mission, vision, and values has been deeply reaffirming to me. I want to thank everyone who helped develop these statements, and I want to thank every member of the LSA community for everything you do to create positive, purposeful change in the world.

Stay purposeful, take good care, and Go Blue!


Anne Curzan, Dean
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts


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Starting college looks a lot different this year for first-year students like J.J., with many courses and activities meeting online. The LSA Annual Fund provides support for tuition, room, and board, as well as the technology and tools necessary to connect to classes and campus. Your support means LSA students won’t miss a beat.

Release Date: 10/26/2020
Tags: Anne Curzan