Dean Cudd blog post imageAs we complete the final tasks of the semester and prepare for our holiday break, I want to thank the hardworking faculty and staff in the College of Arts & Sciences for making 2017 a year full of achievement. Some of our major CAS-wide successes this year included the opening of the CAS Think Tank, the launch of the BU in San Francisco program, hiring 30 new professors, and graduating 1667 undergraduate, 443 Masters, and 169 PhD students. Our faculty have completed books, published exciting new research, and garnered awards and grants, summarized in our annual report. Our staff have completed important projects as well, including learning a new space-scheduling software system (25Live) and implementing a new University-wide scheduling policy. Together we are achieving the greatness to which we collectively aspire.

This past year was full of political and social challenges. The national political landscape was unfriendly to higher education as anti-immigration measures deterred our faculty and students from freely entering the US, and proposed tax reforms threatened to make college education more difficult to afford for most families. Many campuses were roiled by alt-right speakers who brought violence and disruption with their racist and left-baiting messages. The values of truth, science, and evidence-based research were and continue to be questioned and even mocked in ways that seem unfathomable to those of us who honor reason and honesty. Shameful revelations of sexual harassment and sexist bullying clouded many professions, including academia. These national challenges also visited Boston University and our College, and we have also suffered from the divisiveness and irrationality of the current moment.

In response to these challenges, however, our faculty, staff, and students largely persevered and resisted the forces of dishonesty, cruelty, and greed. Our people have come forward in multiple ways, individually and collectively, to make courageous and effective stands against regressive and unjust forces. As we reflect on this past year, let us take pride in the ways that our community has responded to these challenges, and double down on our commitment to seeking truth and justice through education, research, and outreach to our broader communities. In time, through collective effort and good will, the forces of backlash will inevitably give way to progress on all these fronts.

May the holiday break bring you rest and opportunities to recharge with family and friends, and may the torch of peace and justice burn brighter in the coming year. And thank you for your part in our collective achievements and your commitment to our collective mission.