Interim Dean sees opportunity in CAS split

Craig Hansen
Craig Hansen

Craig Hansen has been a faculty member at Metropolitan State University for 24 years, during which time he was the chair of the Department of Communication, Writing and the Arts, and a Union Vice President (IFO). With these experiences and the encouragement of colleagues, Hansen took the offer of interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) on May 9.

Hansen’s appointment began after the College of Arts and Sciences was split into CLA and the College of Sciences (COS). This was part of a larger reorganization of Academic Affairs at the University. The former Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), Tom Nelson, became the dean of COS.

CLA consists of the School of Communication, Writing, and the Arts (SCWA), The Department of Literature and Language, The Department of Ethnic and Religious Studies, The Department of History, The Department of Social Sciences, and The Department of Philosophy. Other CLA programs include Gender Studies, The Liberal Arts Major, and 2 Graduate programs, Master of Technical Communication and Master of Liberal Studies.

“When they divided colleges I saw this as a real opportunity to bring attention to the humanities, social sciences, and arts,” Hansen said.

The job of interim dean came with a demanding workload and many challenges in creating a new college. Hansen is now responsible for the new college’s budget, strategic planning, and personnel. Hansen helps resolve issues that arise in the college, and helps support faculty, advisors, and students in teaching and learning. He is also a member of the President’s cabinet, Academic and Student Affairs council, and other groups that deal with University policy and procedure.

“I really view myself as a link to information from the president and provost level,” Hansen said, “ and bring it to the faculty, advisors, and staff who really need it and use it daily.”

Higher education in Minnesota faces many challenges, but Hansen keeps an honest and positive outlook. “Even though the university is growing,” Hansen said, “it doesn’t seem to be adequately funded through the state. In fact, we are the only institution in MNSCU that has been consistently growing out of all of them. But we’ve got great faculty, great classes, and great students. CLA, like the rest of the University, has a bright future, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”