Fall Updates from the College of Arts and Sciences

For the Fall issue of Blue, the Alumni Insider, we asked Gesine Gerhard, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, about what’s happen in A&S. Here’s what she had to say.

What’s new in your college?
We have exciting new developments in the Arts & Sciences. For the first time in over a decade, we will have a foreign language major again. Due to great demand, this fall we are welcoming our first students with a major in Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Culture.

The College of Arts & Sciences will also house a new master’s degree program in applied behavioral analysis (ABA). We are also working on an online option for a certificate in ABA that will offer new and unique opportunities for non-residential and non-traditional students.

Cybersecurity is another new program in the design stage. We will be hiring a new faculty for this track this coming year.

Finally, we are welcoming six new tenure track professors in the college: Maureen Yuen in music (violin), Eric Barnum in music (choral programs), Titus Klinge in computer science, Leah Huizar in English (poetry), Dian Nostikasari in environmental science and sustainability, and Enes Akbuga in math (math education). We also said goodbye to faculty who retired after many years of service to Drake: Joe Lenz (English, A&S dean), Aimee Beckmann-Collier (choral programs), Janet Wirth-Cauchaun (sociology), and Tom Westbrook (LEAD Program).

What will garner a lot of buzz for your college/school this semester/academic year?
It’s a big year in American politics, and of course, especially in Iowa. Our American politics classes are in high demand, our faculty’s expertise is sought after, and students are engaged in the community and local politics. It’s the place to be and study politics.

Who/what is making your college proud lately?
Our high A&S accomplishment rate: 98.2% of our students report that they are employed, enrolled in graduate school, or involved in an activity related to professional goals within six months of graduating. We love to see how skilled, prepared, versatile, and ready our students are to engage with the real world and their careers.

And for fun:
If you could take any class offered at Drake this semester, what would it be? 
I would take a chamber music string ensemble class. And a computer ethics class. And an Arabic class!

What’s your favorite memory of being an undergrad?
I spent my undergraduate years at the University of Berlin. My favorite memory of that time has to be dancing on the Berlin Wall as it came crumbling down!

Have you run into Griff or Spike lately? Tell us about it.
I went to the Drake Bulldog contest—for the first time. I loved it!

A new class of Bulldogs is in their first semester. What’s your wish for the class of 2023? 
Explore, enjoy, and challenge yourself during your four years at Drake. 2023 will be here too soon.

Follow Drake University College of Arts and Sciences on Facebook.