College of Arts & Sciences


From the Dean

Virginia Sapiro, Dean of Arts & Sciences

Fall always makes me think of the passage of time. The changing leaves and the new briskness in the air signal the end of this year’s growing season and the beginning of another exciting academic year; the introduction of new undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty; and the final year at BU for our next crop of graduates, who are getting serious about planning their next steps.

This fall marks some special passages. I have just completed my first five years of serving as Dean, and I have gladly accepted reappointment to continue into the future. I am proud to have led CAS/GRS through five years of great accomplishment. We are serving our students and faculty in ways that seemed unimaginable in earlier years and have developed exciting new programs and opportunities for our students. Just this past year we created new structures for research and education as diverse as the BU Center for the Study of Europe, the Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting program, and the Department of Earth & Environment.

Our entering classes of undergraduates are stronger than ever and our retention rates higher. The development of the CAS First Year Experience, a more comprehensive system of advising, and a new network of honors programs in the major subjects, among many other innovations, offer our students great opportunities for academic success. It is difficult to describe our delight at the opening of the new Center for Student Services at 100 Bay State Road, which is now the home of many critical student support programs. These include CAS Student Academic Life, comprising our Academic Advising, Pre-Professional Advising, and Student Programs and Leadership, and the CAS Writing Program and Writing Center. This beautiful, high-tech structure, which also houses student and other dining facilities, underscores BU’s commitment to the highest-quality undergraduate education and experience. And the prominence of CAS in the building points to CAS’s place as the heart of BU.

If I had to choose one success of the past five years that will make the most difference, it is the hiring of more than 150 new professors—over one quarter of our current faculty—who are the future of the teaching, research, and leadership force of the College and the University. In 2007 President Brown made a commitment to expand the College of Arts & Sciences by 100 new faculty positions over a decade and, at halftime, we are right on track, halfway toward the goal of that net expansion. To help you see the transformational impact of refreshing and expanding our faculty, we have laced the pages of this issue of arts&sciences with the stories of some of these superb new members of this academic community. Keep your eye out for them.

So how could I not be eager and excited to continue to be a part of the great future of Boston University and the College of Arts & Sciences? I am proud of being a part of this and grateful that I have had an opportunity to see the fruits of my work here. As we launch the Boston University capital campaign, including the campaign for CAS, I hope you will join me in investing in the future of this great College and University. There are so many ways to have a significant impact on the quality of education and the reach of important discoveries. Let’s work together on that.