In 2021, Susquehanna restructured its schools into the School of the Arts, School of Humanities, School of Natural and Social Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business. After national search processes were conducted, Laurie Carter was named dean of the School of the Arts and School of Humanities, and Kathy Straub was promoted to dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences. Matthew Rousu remains dean of the business school.
Q: What drew you to Susquehanna and how have your prior experiences prepared your role as dean?
A: That first day I strolled onto campus, I felt a sense of peace. There was an energy, a synergy that made Susquehanna University feel like a true academic home. My evolution in academia and every experience I’ve had, the ones I’ve celebrated and the ones I’ve weathered, have prepared me for the role of dean of the School of the Arts and School of Humanities. My military career has given me the ability to problem- solve, to see clear through to the mission and how to strategize. Most importantly, it also taught me how to lead others and how to be led.
Q: How would you describe your vision as the university’s new dean of the arts and humanities?
A: Susquehanna University and those in its community have a clear sense of who they are and who they want to be. My vision for the schools of the arts and humanities is that we will be seen as trendsetters, leaders, academicians who have studied ourselves and learned that the arts and humanities are necessary for a life well lived. I believe my initial charge in the role of dean is to listen and learn so I can gain an even clearer vision of Susquehanna University. Only then can I incorporate any vision that I have for an already established and accomplished university.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as a member of Susquehanna’s community?
A: Community, not the competition you often find in institutions of higher learning, but a true community of colleagues who work collaboratively to meet and exceed expectations and visionaries who challenge each other in respectful and empowering ways. I’m looking forward to being challenged and made better by the impressive faculty. In my eyes, Susquehanna is the standard for liberal arts institutions across the globe, and I am looking forward to meeting and rising above that standard as we evolve and grow together.
Q: What role do the arts and humanities play in the complicated world we live in today?
A: In placing the arts and the humanities at the forefront of its curriculum for all students, Susquehanna University poses important questions. What are we without the songs that comfort during difficult times, the visual works that speak our pain in images when we have not the words? How do we understand the world in which we live when the logical answers lead to more questions and all we have to lean on is our faith and our understanding of histories attached to worlds that have weathered similar, and in some situations worse, storms? Covid-19 didn’t change the world into something we didn’t know; it required us to relearn what matters. In many ways,
I see the arts and the humanities as holding limitless blueprints for those yearning to reclaim joy and their voice after having lost so much in a world forever changing.