CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

March 2014

DeanDeverDear friends of the College of Art and Science:

As professor and dean, one of my charges is to develop the next generation of faculty. The 846 graduate and doctoral students in the College of Arts and Science today represent the most promising academics of the future. That’s not hyperbole: only 11 percent of those applying this academic year were accepted into Arts and Science graduate programs.

We ask a lot of those we do accept. They work tirelessly on their own areas of scholarship, contribute to faculty research, take classes and learn how to be outstanding teachers. Consider these representative students:

Katharine Thakkar, MA’08, PhD’12, is now a post-doctoral fellow in the Netherlands. Her psychology research contributed to understanding how an impaired ability to imitate may underlie the social interaction difficulties experienced by those with schizophrenia.

Philosophy’s Paul Morrow used one-of-a-kind digital archives and Skype to teach an interactive seminar on ethics, genocide and atrocities. The Robert Penn Warren Center fellow envisions the tools transferring to other teaching, providing insight gained only from viewing original documents not available in print.

Sociology doctoral student Carly Rush, MA’12, is doing ethnographic research on contemporary deaf culture at Gallaudet University. Her work seeks to understand how that culture has been challenged and changed by technology.

Tessy Sebastian participates in “teaching-as-research.” The biological sciences doctoral student is building expertise in developing online courses and collecting data about the effectiveness of online modules for student learning.

These four—and other graduate students like them—are our future professors, entrepreneurs, leaders, artists, and researchers. Some will make their life’s work in careers not yet conceived. All of them will continue the passion for knowledge and drive for excellence that was fostered here in Arts and Science.

Best regards,

DeanDever signature

Carolyn Dever

Sociology at 80

The Department of Sociology celebrated its 80th anniversary with visits from two prominent sociologists, a civil rights lawyer and historian, and lots of faculty, students, alumni and friends.



Other Arts and Science stories:

Jon Meacham writes about red-hot Nashville (and Vanderbilt) in Time magazine; Elizabeth Lunbeck’s book about narcissism is explored by the New Republic and The Economist; and the Washington Times makes Sam Girgus’ day with a review of Clint Eastwood’s America. Extra: Listen to an interview with Girgus.


O Canada
Bruce Heyman, BA’79, MBA’80, is the new ambassador to Canada. Bruce and his wife, Vicki Simons Heyman, BA’79, MBA’80, are double ‘Dores.

Creative Under 30
Westley Taylor, BA’11, was named to Business Insider’s “30 Most Creative People in Advertising Under 30”.

Super-small and crazy-fast
A team led by physics’ Richard Haglund has invented an optical switch that breaks a major technical barrier.

Thinking Cap
Two Arts and Science researchers show how a mild electrical current can manipulate our ability to learn.





Ampersand  |  Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science
301 Kirkland Hall  |  Nashville, TN 37240

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