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CAS - Compass E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

March 2019

Dear Arts and Science community,

Part of what we all love about Vanderbilt is the beautiful campus: large shady trees, beautifully landscaped lawns, and historic old buildings. While the buildings contribute to the university’s charm and history, much of our existing infrastructure needs updating. We also need some new space to meet our current and future teaching, research, and service missions. Without state-of-the-art facilities, it will be challenging to make the new discoveries we are capable of, to continue to recruit the best faculty and students, and to foster the kind intellectual life worthy of our remarkable campus.

You’ve likely heard about the university’s recent investments in expanding the residential college system, which provide a unique transformational living and educational experience. To compliment this, the College of Arts and Science is about to undertake significant capital investments to enhance several of our most important academic buildings. We will be improving and expanding space in our Historic Core buildings (affecting mostly Humanities and Social Sciences), as well as mission-critical buildings that house our science disciplines.

The goal of this major initiative is not just to make aesthetic improvements. We aim to create more welcoming hubs that draw people to the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences. We want to ensure our teaching and research space forges collaborative, trans-institutional interactions across the university—between students, faculty, and staff. We aim to create teaching space that meets our needs, including more flexible classrooms that can showcase technological advancements. And as we make these important changes, we need to improve accessibility of all buildings.

But we don’t just want to modernize our buildings. We must also plan for the future, anticipating what our academic needs might be in 10, 20, even 30 years. What will teaching look like? What technology will we need to conduct cutting-edge research? How will students want to engage and interact? How can A&S ensure that our physical space supports and contributes to academic and research excellence for the coming years and decades?

We are in the early stages of planning for these investments. While this initial set of projects will likely last 6-8 years, we can expect renovations and expansion to start, in some cases, within the next 12 months. We have, in short, the opportunity to do something creative, and it’s exciting to be thinking about game-changing moves that will have a direct and positive impact on our community, our reputation, and our ability to achieve our academic mission. In the coming years, we hope you will visit campus to witness these unfolding improvements that will allow the College of Arts and Science to offer the best possible education, as we pursue cutting-edge discovery and creative expression.

My best,

John G. Geer
Dean of the College of Arts and Science
Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science

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The health consequences of backlash politics

Public policies rooted in racial resentment can carry grave consequences for health and well-being, according to Jonathan Metzl, Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society.

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The Center for Effective Lawmaking, co-directed by Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science Alan Wiseman, has released its legislative effectiveness ranking.

In the News

The Christian Century: A northerner explores Christianity in the American South (James Hudnut-Buemler, Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History, book reviewed)

The Republic: Racism or classism? (Moses Ochonu, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of History, authored)

New York Times: New York City could be about to become much more dangerous (Jonathan Metzl, Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society, authored)

The Washington Post: ‘The U.S. has awesome data on almost everything’: Canadians grapple with surprising case of number envy (Christopher Carpenter, professor of economics, quoted)

People: FDA approves new nasal spray to help treat depression (Steven Hollon, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology, quoted)

GEN: Lipid atlas relates molecular shapes to signs of disease (John McLean, Stevenson Professor of Chemistry, and graduate student Katrina Leaptrot, quoted)

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