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Why We Need Liberal Arts: A Conversation with Virginia Sapiro

Part one of a two-part introduction to the new dean of Arts and Sciences

Click the video player above to watch a conversation with Virginia (Gina) Sapiro, the new dean of Arts and Sciences.

On July 1, Virginia Sapiro, a political scientist and women’s studies scholar with strong opinions about the necessity of a liberal arts education, became dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. University leaders enthusiastically welcomed Sapiro, the first female dean in the 134-year history of Arts and Sciences, a college she describes as a “vibrant learning community” and “the heart of a great university.”

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Sapiro was most recently vice provost for teaching and learning at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. There she chaired both the department of political science and the women’s studies program and served as interim provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs.

This summer, Sapiro spoke with BU Today about her vision of liberal arts education and a university’s responsibility to its students and faculty. In this segment, she discusses how the liberal arts give undergraduates essential skills. “We are giving people a platform of skills,” she says, “that will make them people that can continue to learn on their own for the rest of their lives.”

Part two of the two-part series will appear tomorrow on BU Today.

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu. Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.