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Welcome from the Dean

September 22, 2014

I hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer and are feeling reinvigorated as we move into fall and a new academic year. The summer was busy with classes in session, a whole slew of summer high school programs, and faculty and students travelling far and wide, especially for our Los Angeles and London programs. We were busy getting our labs and studios ready for the largest ever incoming freshman class, upgrading a number of computer labs, buying a set of new cameras for Cinema & Television, putting a new laser cutter on line, and contracting for a new much-needed practice space for Music students.  

In June, the Westphal faculty approved a new Strategic Plan by an overwhelming majority. The plan details ambitious initiatives for us to accomplish in the next five years. Among these are the launch of a new and innovative Art History major, the College’s very first PhD program which will be in Digital Media, and a call to create interdisciplinary new graduate programs built upon our faculty’s expertise in design, media, the arts and arts management. The plan also calls for us to increase our participation in funded research, building upon our 875% increase in proposals submitted over the past four years, and to increase support for faculty and student scholarship and creative work. A centerpiece of the plan will be the creation of The Center for Creative Design and Collaboration that will be the nexus for our engagements with interdisciplinary problem solving, and through which we will seek collaborations from across the University and beyond. Please click here to read the entire plan.

As always, we’ll be presenting a busy lineup of performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and residencies. In October, we’ll welcome Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator of the very funny Arrested Development. This year’s Mandell Professionals in Residence project will bring the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective to campus for a new production featuring the Artists’ Collective company and students in Garcia Lorca’s classic Blood Wedding. The Pearlstein Gallery will exhibit the work of the noted Philadelphia artist Bill Walton, and the Museum Leadership program is organizing a December Conference bringing experts from across the nation to address the ownership and stewardship of cultural properties. The Architecture program will present lectures with noted landscape architect Laurie Olin, whose most recent work is on display at the new Dilworth Plaza, and the esteemed Peter Bohlin whose well-known works include the iconic NYC 5th Avenue Apple Store. Artist and illustrator Don Colley will be a visiting Rankin Scholar; the Digital Media program will host Jared Spool for a lecture on product usability; Product Design will welcome design thinker and product designer Allan Chocinov; MaCarthur Fellow Eiko Otake will be with our Dance program; and the Fox Historic Costume Collection is planning events on Italian shoes and fashions of the 1980s.

These are of course just a few of the highlights which we’ll be detailing in upcoming editions of this newsletter.  We extend a warm welcome to our new and returning students and faculty, and hope you’ll join us for some of our many worthwhile events, most of which are free and open-to-the public.