This has been a good year for the department in many respects. As the economy has recovered, we are no longer experiencing cuts in our classes offered, increases in the size of our classes, cuts to faculty support for professional development, and significant increases in student fees or tuition. Although we are significantly below the pre-financial crisis level of funding, at least we have experienced a modest increase in our budget. We have worked hard to make sure this modest increase is used efficiently to improve the educational experience of our students. This newsletter will try to update you on what we have been up to and to reconnect with some of our alumni.
This past year we have seen many important changes in the department. First, if you visit the office you will be greeted by our new office manager, Cerise Dragicevich, who joined us following the retirement of Karen Fawson. You will also be welcomed by Nicole Torres, who joined us before the fall semester. Cerise and Nicole make an excellent team and they keep the department running smoothly — we are fortunate to have them in the department. Next, after many years of service to the department and university, Professor Davinder (David) Singh retired. Fortunately, we were able to hire Jinwon Kim from UC Irvine, by way of Technical University of Denmark, where he worked as a post-doctoral researcher for two years. He is profiled in this newsletter.
The department also lost a former colleague and friend, Professor J. Richard Powell, this past year. Professor Powell’s contribution to the department extended beyond his time as a faculty member. The J. Richard Powell Award for the Outstanding Graduate Student was created to recognize his contribution to the graduate program.
As you read the newsletter to learn more about the department, please remember we want to hear from you. As you can see from the Alumni Highlights section, we are interested in keeping in touch with our graduates. I think you will find the profile of Eduardo Martinez (M.A., 1998) very interesting. Send us your information and we may be in touch to highlight you next year! Also, soon you will receive an online survey we have designed to collect information on our alumni. This information will help us as we continue to assess our programs and make sure we are providing an educational experience that helps you to achieve your career and learning objectives.
I hope you are all doing well and please keep in touch.