We live in interesting times. In the midst of all of the surprises of the past several months, I am surprised too to find myself serving you as Acting Dean of our School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Having been overtly critical of the school structure and administrative reorganization only furthers my deep sense of irony at a moment in history in which it would seem that irony is nearly dead. I agreed to take this role, in part, precisely because of the particularities of the time and place we find ourselves living in. I believe that the humanities and social sciences are more critical to the future of our society now than they have been in quite some time. Now more than ever, we need the critical thinking skills that only the humanities and social sciences can offer. It is not just the empowerment of racism and misogyny, not just the attacks on vital institutions like journalism, but attacks on reason itself that makes this moment in history so challenging, and that positions the humanities and social sciences centrally in debates over the future of our society.
Now more than ever the School of Humanities and Social Sciences must serve the public as the intellectual hub of our institution, facilitating interdisciplinary efforts to address the big questions of our time, rooted in strong, rigorous disciplines. And we must do this while struggling with constructed austerity that intentionally targets urban public higher education that serves the working poor, working class, immigrants, and students of color. The good news is that our students are amazing and our faculty are dedicated. I look forward to serving our community as we grapple with these challenges collaboratively. If you have ideas about how to better serve our students, please share them with me. If you hit obstacles in your efforts, let me know about them. If I can better facilitate your work, tell me how. Brooklyn College is a tremendous public resource, and our school is the heart of the institution. I genuinely believe that urban public higher education can make the world a better place, and I look forward to participating in our conversations on how to best realize its potential.