Spring 2021

As a new Dean, I’m frequently asked about my goals for the College. Like many others in my role, I typically respond with talking about the important goals related to the retention and graduation of our students, the role of community engagement to serve our state and develop the career readiness of our students as well as supporting the critical research and scholarship of our faculty. For me, accomplishing those goals means that our overarching goal must be to become a model of Inclusive Excellence.

I have spent almost 30 years as a professor of industrial/organizational psychology engaging in research and developing practices to support a variety of organizations in achieving their diversity-related goals. These organizations understood that given the complexity of the world today, we cannot truly be excellent without recruiting, retaining and developing diverse talent. Diversity in our classrooms, laboratories and studios helps us to be more transparent in our communication and motivates us to challenge our assumptions rather than rely on tacit knowledge and group-think that can derail and impair our decision making. Diversity also broadens the experiences, perspectives and skills we use to analyze and solve our most pressing problems by expanding our tool kits. A diversity of talent helps us make better decisions that reflect and serve the richness of our community. Yet none of these benefits can be realized without a culture of inclusion.

It is critical that our diverse college of students, faculty and staff have an opportunity to be excellent in their roles by making sure that we have a culture of Inclusive Excellence; that is, that each member of the College of Arts and Sciences understands that they have an opportunity for voice, a sense of value and of belonging as well as feelings of investment and ownership in our collaborative mission to serve the educational needs of our community.

Kecia M. Thomas
Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

robert palazzo