College of Humanities

Office of the Dean

From the Dean

To All of the Dreamers of the World…

Jackie StallcupWalking around campus over the past few weeks, I have been reveling in small things that would have been utterly unremarkable a few years ago: Rounding a corner and literally running into another human being.  Having trouble finding a parking spot. Standing in line at Freudian Sip. Watching from the back steps of Sierra Hall as students oohed over our college cat, Einstein.

We’re not back to normal, exactly. I think we have to admit that we’re never going to be able to return to life as we experienced it before the pandemic. But a new sense of normal is stretching out spring tendrils toward the May sunshine.

Spring, as the poets and novelist remind us, is the time of endings and beginnings. A time of recycling and renewal. My time as Interim Dean is winding down. We will be welcoming a new dean to our college soon.  And the important work we do in the Humanities continues onwards.

Each spring as commencement approaches, I find myself re-reading Gaudy Night, a novel written in 1934 and set at a fictional women’s college in Oxford in the interwar period.  At one level, it’s a detective story; at another, a romance.  But it is also a celebration of academia—one that speaks to me anew each year about the continuity of academic life and the importance of the work that we do at the university.  Early in the novel, at a class reunion, a speaker affirms both the deep roots of the academic world as well as its aspirations: “She spoke gravely, unrolling the great scroll of history, pleading for the Humanities, proclaiming the Pax Academica to a world terrified with unrest… In the glamour of one Gaudy night, one could realize that one was a citizen of no mean city.  It might be an old and an old-fashioned city, with inconvenient buildings and narrow streets where passers-by squabbled foolishly about the right of way; but her foundations were set upon the holy hills and her spires touched heaven.”

This is what we do in the Humanities.  We think carefully and critically about how what we do matters—both in a historical sense, and also how it matters TODAY.  How do the events of the past impinge upon us? How do they forecast the future?  How do we learn from them?  How do we apply all of this to make the world—OUR world today—a better, more just and equitable place?

With Gaudy Night, we both reflect on the past and also turn our faces forward to the future we are working toward. In that spirit, and in honor of Spring and new beginnings, here are my favorite lines from a much more recent text, Yuyi Morales’ picture book Dreamers. This is the story of a mother and child who must leave their home and come to a new place where at first they are uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. And then they find the library and a whole new world opens up to them.  The mother says to the child:

Books became our language.
Books became our home.
Books became our lives.
We learned to read.

We are stories.
We are two languages.
We are lucha.
We are resilience.
We are hope.

We are dreamers,
Soñadores of the world.

To all of the dreamers of the world, I wish you a beautiful spring and all the hope of the world…

- Jackie E. Stallcup, Interim Dean


Jackie Stallcup, Ph.D.Jackie E. Stallcup, Ph.D.

Kent Baxter, Associate DeanKent B. Baxter, Ph.D.

Janene White

Suren SeropianSuren Seropian

Vanessa MartinezVanessa L. Martinez, Ed.D.

Matthew LangMatthew Lang

Celina Batenhorst, M.P.A.

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Noreen Galvin

Evelyn S. Garcia

James R. Lunsford, M.F.A.

Matthew Medina

Judith Spiegel, M.F.A.