A Note from the Dean

The opening of another academic year finds a comforting number of things the same in CLAS, but also lots of exciting changes that alumni should know about.

We do not change for the sake of change. Arts and Sciences represents basic disciplines, solid academic fundamentals, and eternal verities. Those features will remain the backbone of a liberal arts education. And our undergraduate students have the benefit of outstanding professors to provide this foundation.

There is sometimes a difficult line to walk between retaining tradition and becoming stagnant. One person's cutting edge development is another's fad du jour. We believe that a certain amount of change is not only healthy, but necessary. New students come each year to challenge and learn. New faculty bring new ideas to be tested in the academic marketplace. This has been going on for centuries in the universities, and the University of Florida is a center for the exploration of these new directions.

We believe in the appropriate use of new technology to teach all subjects, from chemistry to classics. Last year we told you about the new writing laboratory that opened to rave reviews from faculty and students. This year we have created a computer classroom in which to teach foreign languages using the latest methods, some of which we will develop ourselves.

Our computer driven writing laboratory is enlarging its scope to encompass writing in the disciplines. No longer will composition be taught only in the English Department. Writing will be incorporated into fundamental discipline courses, such as anthropology, history, and geology. Not only will students write as freshmen, but we will continue to stress that need for upper division students and graduate students.

A new physics building is rising up across from the Reitz Union. Rolfs Hall, Anderson Hall, and Williamson Hall are being renovated, albeit slowly. We vigorously seek private funds to help us renovate Flint Hall. Lots of other building projects are in place around the campus for other colleges.

If it's been a while since you were back to campus, you owe it to yourself to come back for a look. We'll give you a map, which you might need. Take a look at the UF we have prepared for the Gators of today. Indeed there is a lot that's different, but you'll find a lot you recognize. We hope to see you at Homecoming.