Today is your first day of work as the chair of your department at NYU. You are new to New York City and your institution. You hear a large rumbling above you. Today is 9/11. What do you do?
You never know when you will be called upon to be a leader. For Dean Gage Averill of Arts at UBC, his leadership abilities were challenged that day in New York City. I’m proud to say that he did well under pressure. When he didn’t know the staff, the students, or the campus, he knew what to do. He had to make the decisions of getting emergency housing for faculty, staff and students within hours of starting his new job. He had to make quick decisions about canceling classes for the day. He had to make the most difficult discussions with no experience at NYU at all. Can you imagine doing that on your first day of work?
I’ll never stop saying it, but our Dean is so cool. He even blogs.
I asked Dean Averill how do Arts students face the trend of others dismissing the value of our degree? His answer was that our degree recognizes that we are human and we are learning how to flourish in the modern world. We are learning how to command communication across cultures. True say Dean Averill, true say. I believe that we are building dynamic leaders in arts that can adapt and flourish in any environment after post-graduation.
What do you think the strengths of an Art student is? I see us as a dynamic and powerful group. The biggest, the loudest, and the ones who are faced with life’s biggest questions in the classroom on a daily basis. Everyday. I go to class to analyze colonial dispossession. Everyday, I question why the world is the way it is. Everyday, I am challenged to read some article that I often I can’t understand at all (it’s a daily struggle) but I’m pushed to expand my way of thinking. I see value in our degree. I understand why we study the human condition. I’m proud to be in Arts.