NC State Legacy Luncheon (as I did with freshman Molly Graham at left), and as I welcomed a new generation into the Wolfpack family at our Freshmen Welcome Bash last week.
However, this year the feelings I have are less vicarious and more personal. My wife Jill and I are watching our youngest begin his college career.
It’s funny, but I feel much more confident dispensing advice to freshmen and their families than I do to my own. It’s not that I say one thing and do another—I preach the value of the liberal arts and globalization, and our son is off to study French and Spanish at McGill in Montreal.
As a dean and professor, I welcome students into a world that I influence; as a parent, I watch with a mix of helplessness and pride as my son leaves my sphere of influence. It hits home, reminding me of the incredible responsibility we accept as we welcome new students, and the trust that families and friends place in us to guide them on their journey.
So what guidance do I offer to our freshmen? First, that many of the friends you make in college will last the rest of your life—so choose wisely. Some of the friends I made include Plato, Betty Friedan, Thomas Jefferson, B. F. Skinner, and Margaret Mead; there are many others, and our faculty are eager to introduce you.
Second, there are some questions for which others can tell you the answer, and some questions that only you can answer. Questions like these –
• What types of reinforcement are most resistant to extinction?
• How does the wealth of nations influence their power in the world?
• What are the fundamental principles of communication?
– are known and can be shared. Someone can tell you the answer.
In contrast, questions like these –
• What is the purpose and meaning of life?
• Do I believe in a higher power, and if so, how does that shape my view of the world?
• What are my obligations to my family, friends, country, and the world at large—and how do I balance those with what I want for myself?
– are questions whose answers cannot be given. They must be discovered, indeed, they can only be discovered, by each student.
CHASS helps students with both kinds of questions. Whether they come to NC State to learn how to live a good life, or (increasingly) to earn a good living, we demand that students ask these questions. And we help them find the answers. It’s a role I relish as a professor and dean, and (I realize) one that I cannot play for my son. He is off to pose his own questions and seek his own answers, and I must be content to watch from afar. I will take solace, however, in working with my colleagues to introduce our students to those questions, to help them find the answers--and to introduce them to life-long friends along the way.
Jeff Braden, Dean
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
NC State University
At 7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 25, at DH Hill Library's theatre, NC State University will screen of the HBO documentary "For Neda." The film profiles Neda Agha-Soltan's life and death. Neda was killed in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election in Iran last June. A video of her death was circulated around the world in a matter of minutes.
Her story is told through a series of interviews with her family, together with amateur video footage both before and after she was killed. The film was directed by British award-winning filmmaker Antony Thomas.
The film will be introduced by Ms. Roya Johnson, a former political prisoner in Iran and the Vice-President of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran. This is the first time the film has been shown in North Carolina.
Sponsored by NC State’s School of Public and International Affairs and the United Nations Association - Wake County.
Directions to the Erdahl-Cloyd Theater in the D.H. Hill Library are at http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/directions/dhhill/.
The screening is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Dan Figgins at email@example.com.
Dr. Helga Braunbeck has been named assistant dean of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at North Carolina State University, effective August 16. The IDS program is housed in NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Braunbeck has been at NC State since 1990. For the past three years she has directed International Studies within IDS and co-directed the Hamilton Scholars Program (a dual-degree program between CHASS and the College of Management). She has coordinated the German section in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures for 19 years, where she has also created a successful interdisciplinary German Studies major.
“We are delighted that Helga has accepted this appointment,” says Jeffery P. Braden, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She led International Studies through a period of tremendous growth, despite the budgetary constraints of the last several years. Under her watch, International Studies has grown at a yearly rate of 50%. She also built the German Studies major from the ground up. Helga brings extensive administrative experience as well as a strong collaborative approach. Interdisciplinary Studies is in good hands.”
Braunbeck will continue to lead the German Section and German Studies Major Program.
Braunbeck earned her Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a master’s degree in German Literature from the University of Oregon and passed the State Board Examination at Eberhard-Karls-Universität in Tübingen, Germany, in English and German Literature and Linguistics. Braunbeck’s research focuses on Contemporary German Literature, especially references to the arts and to media in the literary text. She teaches German language, literature and culture, and courses in World Literature in Translation.
The CHASS Interdisciplinary Studies Program awards an array of cross-disciplinary undergraduate degrees, including majors and dual-degree programs, as well as minors. IDS also offers a master’s degree in liberal studies (MALS). IDS major programs include Africana Studies, Arts Studies, Film Studies, International Studies, Science Technology and Society (STS), Self-Design Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies; minor programs include Middle Eastern Studies and Nonprofit Studies. Five dual-degree programs enable students to combine scientific or professional study with a focus in the humanities or social sciences; students graduate with two undergraduate degrees.
When it comes to dialects, North Carolina is one of the nation's richest states. Dr. Walt Wolfram, William C. Friday Distinguished University professor and director of the North Carolina Language and Life Project recently introduced new NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson to some of that linguistic diversity as they toured around Pembroke, where Wolfram has done considerable research on Lumbee dialects and culture. Pictured left to right are CHASS alum David Oxendine (Ph.D., Psy), Woodson, Lumbee Indian dialect subject Georgia Locklear, Vice Chancellor for Engagement Jim Zuiches, and Wolfram.
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