Print Edition: July 16, 2014
UFV is welcoming a new associate dean of students in the college of arts.
Alisa Webb, a faculty member of UFV’s history department since 2004, has taken over the position — a role previously held by Susan Fisher.
As Webb explains, this position will not only give her the opportunity to harness the skills that she has acquired over the past decade, but also add her voice to discussions surrounding change within the post-secondary system and encourage student success.
“The position offers the ideal opportunity for me to bring together the work I’ve been doing in various capacities for the past decade, my educational background, and my passion for student success,” says Webb.
“Plus, post-secondary education is a period of change. We’re re-evaluating what post-secondary education should look like and what our students need to be successful,” she continues. “I’ve been contributing to those discussions; this position offers me the chance to lead them, ever mindful of UFV’s diverse student body.”
Past associate deans of students have effectively engaged faculty and administration in significant discussions surrounding topics such as writing across the curriculum, learning outcomes, integrated learning experiences, high-impact learning practices, and learning communities. And while Webb desires to continue these discussions, she also wants to engage departments and build a stronger connection with students themselves.
“I’d like to start working more closely with departments within the arts as they go through the process of program and curriculum review and revision,” she notes. “I’d also like to find more avenues for my office to directly connect with students. Leaving the classroom means leaving the front lines of student engagement.”
Although Webb recognizes that this role has a steep learning curve, she maintains excitement for the opportunity to lead the college of arts through future changes — all of which she believes will benefit students.
“I’ve been engaged for quite some time at UFV in discussions about the directions we need to take and I am very excited to be shaping that vision and working out an implementation plan,” she continues. “This position is all about students: student success, access, learning, experience. The person who holds this office speaks on behalf of the student and ensures that the student voice and perspective is heard throughout the university.”
At times, our society questions the validity of an arts degree. However, in the face of this criticism, Webb still believes that they are important for teaching students the types of skills that prospective employers look for.
“Statistics show the continued relevance of your degrees and employer demand for the very skills that arts students acquire,” Webb concludes. “Are there things we could be doing better? Yes, and we’re working on that, particularly by exploring new models for the BA. For now, though, you are all gaining the skills you need for a dynamic world which values transferable skills.”