Being Dean

Posted on: February 27, 2015

Being Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU, one of the top colleges in the discipline, with a storied tradition, is indeed a great honor. And as my friends and former students remind me, “It is a cool gig.”

It is fun because I get to witness the fusion of communication arts and sciences every day (#ComArtSci). Our students win awards in journalism, advertising, broadcasting, communication, public relations, game design, documentaries and other forms of media arts. Likewise, our faculty win awards for teaching, creative work and research. We excel in many areas and examine communication at various levels of analysis—neuronal to cultural. Through our teaching, research and outreach, we touch lives in our own backyard and beyond and our reach extends to various parts of the world, including Tibet and Tanzania.

And our public radio and TV stations are recognized for their excellence. They, too, are actively engaged in improving our community and bringing the world to our smart phones and tablets and, yes, also to our radios and televisions for those of us who still use those antiques.

We live in a time of great excitement and promise. Not since the Gutenberg Press have we seen such an unleashing of the power of communication and media. With mobile media, we hold the world in our palms, and with imagination and the touch of a finger, we are launched into new worlds and experiences. With immersive media, such as holograms and augmented reality, gaining new momentum and with rapid developments in nanoscience and biosensors, who can predict what the future holds? I know it will be a thrilling ride.

From being entranced by a scratchy, live report of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon on my dad’s shortwave radio, when growing up in India, I now take for granted crystal-clear video chats with my dad on Skype or FaceTime. But we cannot take anything for granted. We should seize the latent potential that is marbled in these changes. We should strive to use communication to become agents of change.

I was not surprised when a recent Pew survey found that American parents rated communication as the number one skill, even above reading, math and science. As a college of communication, we have a responsibility to meet these high expectations and make each student a proficient communicator. We have a responsibility not only to our students and their parents, but to our state, which is integral to MSU’s land-grant mission.

On our website and in my blog, you will find many examples of how our students, staff and faculty accomplish this mission through collaborations within our college and with faculty and students in other colleges. I hope you take some time to explore what we are up to.

If you are a student, come study with us. If you are searching for a new faculty or staff position, come join us. If you are a graduate of our college, come partner with us. Together, we are #ComArtSci, not just on Twitter, but in everything we do.

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