Oct 09 2013

Director’s Corner

Published by chelsea at 5:30 am under Fall 2013 Newsletter,Newsletter

Director’s Corner: Edward F. Fischer

A few weeks ago there were no lines in Rand, no wait at the library or at SATCO, no jostling for position on the paths around campus. Despite the little inconveniences the flood of new and returning students now presents, I love the rhythms of the academic calendar, the clear and symbolic marking of our seasons. And fall is our spring, a time of planting new seeds and of renewal, of great energy, and new beginnings.

This year is the center’s eighth as a National Resource Center (NRC), that Department of Education designation that provides the vast majority of CLAS’ funding. In spring 2014 we will apply for a third round of NRC funding, assuming no dramatic changes in terms of congressional allocations (a big assumption, I know). We have done a great job over the last three years, and we do far more with far less than our peer institutions. Our summer awards and FLAS fellowships have had a significant impact on graduate education; our outreach program touches thousands every year, and our linkages with HBCUs and universities in the region are strong and growing; Portuguese hardly needs our subsidies anymore, and we are working to strengthen K’iche’ Maya instruction; we now work with faculty in every school and college of the university, and our faculty’s accomplishments are truly remarkable; through the hard work of Paula Covington, our library’s specialized LAS holdings continue to grow. You should be proud. That is all to say that we are well positioned for the next NRC competition, which promises to be especially tough in these lean economic times. One never knows, and serendipity and the luck of the draw with review committees can determine our fate in such a tight competition, but building on your strengths we are confident in our ability.

While writing the NRC grant, we are scheduling slightly fewer public events this year. We may call on you for more information for the exhaustive proposal, and we welcome any ideas on strategic priorities for the next four years. Beyond that, you may best show your support by attending a couple of events this year—perhaps on subjects outside of your specialty, things you might normally skip—and take part in the interdisciplinary conversations that follow.

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