On July 31, after eight years at the helm, Virginia Sapiro stepped down from her post as Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at BU. She left to pursue long-sidelined research ambitions, leaving behind a legacy of continual growth and improvement that has enabled her successor—Ann E. Cudd—to determine new priorities for the College and move forward from a position of strength.

ANN E. CUDD became the College of Arts & Sciences’ 13th dean on August 1, 2015.

Dean Cudd, a distinguished philosopher and former Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Kansas, became the College’s 13th dean on August 1. She brings renewed energy and vision to CAS. And she brings a strong commitment to enhancing—and affirming—the value of the liberal arts at BU and in our broader society.

“Studying and doing research in the liberal arts and sciences is transformative for both individuals and society,” Cudd told arts&sciences magazine. “Education should empower us to make our lives better, more just, and more satisfying, and CAS is central to this educational goal at BU. Simply put, the arts and sciences teach us the critical thinking, mutual understanding, and creative discovery that are necessary for a vibrant, democratic future.” (Read the full Q&A with Dean Cudd in this fall’s edition of arts&sciences, the CAS alumni magazine.)

Dean Cudd is encouraged by—and plans to further—some of BU’s ongoing initiatives: expanding its big data faculty and abilities; developing a new, University-wide general education curriculum; and physically redesigning classrooms for more interactive instruction. She is eager to understand the needs of CAS faculty and other stakeholders in order to move the College forward in ways that matter. (See the Bostonia profile and video on Dean Cudd.)

A host of opportunities and challenges await Dean Cudd: how to take advantage of CAS’ research and teaching strengths and forge new partnerships within and outside of the University; how to continue adapting to the shifting interests and needs of incoming undergraduate and graduate students; and many more. But she is prepared to face these challenges and take advantage of new opportunities for CAS, thanks to her own extensive experience as a professor, innovative program director, and head of undergraduate education at a major university. (Read her biography.) We are very fortunate to have her at the helm.

A Legacy of Success

VIRGINIA SAPIRO, the first woman to serve as dean of CAS, led the College from 2007-2015.

As she embarks on her sabbatical, Dean Sapiro bequeaths a CAS that is stronger than the one she inherited. Since becoming the college’s first female dean in 2007, Sapiro has hired 184 faculty members (a third of CAS’s faculty), added 17 new undergraduate majors, and led the development of the Pardee School of Global Studies, the BU Centers for the Study of Asia and Europe, respectively, and the Middle East & North African Studies Program. She reorganized the Student Academic Life office to make the College more student-focused, and she created the CAS First-Year Experience to help freshmen transition to life at BU.

She has done far more than can be listed here, but those efforts have had palpable outcomes: freshman applications have risen 38% and donations to the college have doubled. There are also results that can’t be measured: an even-higher standard for the kind of faculty who teach at CAS, an easier transition for new freshmen making BU their home, and the countless projects and lessons that have arisen from new centers and programs.

Recognizing Sapiro’s efforts to promote out-of-the-classroom learning, the CAS advisory board has pledged $170,000 to an endowment for class trips and guest speakers, now renamed the Virginia Sapiro Academic Enhancement Fund in her honor. The Sapiro Fund supported 60 educational events across 17 academic disciplines last year. The City of Boston also officially named July 31, 2015, her last day as dean, “Dean Virginia Sapiro Day.” (See the City Council resolution.)

Sapiro is planning ambitious research projects this coming year—including an investigation of how the unique system of higher education developed in the US—before returning to teach in the BU Department of Political Science in Fall 2016. It is a smaller labor of love, however, that may be of most interest to readers of this annual report: a history of CAS, a timeline compiled by Sapiro and recent alums Daniel Plucinsky (CAS’13) and Rachel Klepper (CAS’13).

Annual Report 2014/2015

  • From the Dean From the Dean
    From recruiting ever-better faculty and students to surging ahead in our capital campaign, academic year 2014/2015 was a year of great accomplishments.
  • A New Era Begins at CAS A New Era Begins at CAS
    On August 1, 2015, CAS welcomed its new dean, Ann Cudd. Dean Cudd brings her own unique energy and vision to CAS and GRS and is deeply committed to enhancing—and affirming—the value of a liberal arts education.
  • Improving Undergraduate Education Improving Undergraduate Education
    CAS once again attracted our most talented class of undergraduates ever. And we laid the groundwork to serve them even better, offering expanded academic opportunities and a comprehensive First-Year Experience program with over 800 first-year participants.
  • Strengthening Graduate Education Strengthening Graduate Education
    BU’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences continues to see a dramatic increase in applicant quality and enrollment due to our new five-year PhD funding model that has heightened the attractiveness of our doctoral programs. New program initiatives have also resulted in more applicants to our master’s programs.
  • Enhancing a World-Class Faculty Enhancing a World-Class Faculty
    The quality of a university depends on the quality of its faculty, and hiring the best and giving them a strong start is crucial. In 2014/15, CAS hired 26 new professors across the humanities and social, natural, and computational sciences.
  • Conducting Pathbreaking Research Conducting Pathbreaking Research
    Discoveries and innovations at CAS help make BU one of the top 40 research universities in the world. Many fields of study at CAS are also highly ranked, including social sciences, physics, molecular biology and genetics, and psychology.
  • Deepening Our Global Mission Deepening Our Global Mission
    CAS is a major contributor to the international character of Boston University. The 2014–15 academic year was particularly eventful in this respect, being the inaugural year for the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.
  • Creating Our Future: The CAS Strategic Plan at Halftime Creating Our Future: The CAS Strategic Plan at Halftime
    In 2010, the College of Arts & Sciences crafted a bold 10-year plan to enhance all aspects of what we do: advancing undergraduate and graduate education, research, global partnerships, and the College’s relationships with its alumni. Over the past five years, we have made great strides toward these goals.
  • Nurturing Connections with Alumni and Friends Nurturing Connections with Alumni and Friends
    The College continues to develop new opportunities to engage and connect with CAS alumni and friends. In 2014–15, more than 5,000 CAS alumni registered for events hosted by the BU Alumni Association, accounting for 25% of all BU alumni event engagement.
  • Growing Our Capacity and Stewarding Our Resources Growing Our Capacity and Stewarding Our Resources
    BU is in the midst of our first-ever capital campaign. As of June 30th, 2015, CAS has received more than $93,595,000 in gifts from its alumni, parents and friends. Collectively these supporters have made more than 20,000 gifts to the CAS campaign.
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