New Year, New Interim Assistant Dean for USI’s College of Liberal Arts
by Aubrey Swart '22
As the University of Southern Indiana transitions into the new year, the College of Liberal Arts also transitions in leadership as Dr. Trent Engbers, the current Interim Assistant Dean, steps down to take a sabbatical and Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland steps up to take on the role. Dr. Engbers will step down from his role as Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the conclusion of the Fall 2022 semester and begin his sabbatical at the end of December, starting his new year off in Israel. Dr. Shefveland has been selected to succeed Dr. Engbers in his role and she is set to begin at the start of the Spring 2023 semester.
“There are a number of things that I have really enjoyed about being a Dean for the College of Liberal Arts,” Dr. Engbers reflected. “The first thing I would say is that I am a part of a great team. I really enjoy the colleagues that I’ve had in the Dean’s Office… it’s just a good group of people to work with and that makes coming to work really rewarding.” Other aspects of the position he recalled enjoying, were having the opportunity to support faculty members in ways that set them up for success and being involved in important decisions with the goal of hopefully improving the lives of the university’s students and faculty.
To prepare for the transition, Dr. Shefveland and Dr. Engbers have been meeting frequently to go over the responsibilities of the Interim Assistant Dean. “She’s really well positioned to be successful,” Dr. Engbers shared. “She brings a lot into the role, and I think she was a good pick in terms of hopefully carrying forward some of the positive momentum that I bring to the job. If I had to give her advice, it would be to try to listen to people, be kind, work hard, don’t take yourself too seriously, and try to put the student first in every choice that you make.”
Ultimately, Dr. Shefveland is excited for the opportunity to serve the College of Liberal Arts and her colleagues as Interim Assistant Dean. “I believe that service is remarkably important to our profession and to that end I have been very active on college, university, and community committees throughout the region in my 12 years at USI,” Dr. Shefveland explained. “I have also served as an executive officer in the American Society for Ethnohistory for many years and very much look forward to bringing my experience to the Dean’s Office and learning more about how to help my colleagues and our college work towards a better future.”
USI to hold two Fall Commencement Ceremonies to honor Fall 2022 graduates
The University of Southern Indiana will hold two Fall Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday, December 17 in the Screaming Eagles Arena.
The 10 a.m. Commencement Ceremony will recognize all graduates from the College of Nursing and Health Professions, the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education and the School of Graduate Studies. The 1 p.m. Commencement Ceremony will recognize all graduates from the Romain College of Business, the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Graduate Studies.
The Administrative Assistants & Associates (AA&A) organization held their annual online fundraising auction last month. Under the leadership of Julie Minnette, Senior Administrative Associate for the College of Liberal Arts and Co-President of the AA&A, items were collected, photographed, and listed online for the USI community to engage in friendly bidding wars to help raise money for two (2) student scholarships.
The online auction began in 2014 as the main fundraiser for the AA&A organization to continue to aid students in need. Past fundraisers have included the making and sales of apple butter, bake sales on campus, tiered sales fundraisers among members, and local restaurant give-back nights. The online auction is a much more efficient way for the organization to raise funds; this format has raised more than completing multiple fundraisers a year since it began. While the items and number of items change yearly, the AA&A auction is quickly becoming an event that people across campus look forward to in the fall.
Carol Blair, Senior Administrative Assistant for the Social Work department and newcomer to USI, was instrumental in securing several of the 45 items up for bid. She credits her involvement in the PTA and other charitable organizations for her success. “I have always had a passion for helping others, and when Julie [Minnette] told me that the proceeds from the auction would be used for a student that is having a financial hardship, I was in,” says Carol. “I know what it is like to face financial difficulties, so this was just a small way to help that would help a student in a big way.” The AA&A organization would like to thank all of those who donated items, collected donations, helped with pricing, and photographing items for the website, and to those who participated in the bidding. Julie Minnette said, “This was a fun experience for me. I was able to see how it all works and see the bidding first-hand! We hope to increase participation across campus with donations and donors in the years to come.”
This year the auction raised an all-time high of $1,607 which goes directly into the endowment fund to help provide 2-3 scholarships each year. Students can become eligible to receive this – and many other - scholarship by clicking on the AwardSpring icon through MyUSI to complete an application. Applications must be submitted by January 30, 2023, to be eligible for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Donors do not have to wait until next year to contribute to the AA&A Scholarship fund! Charitable gifts can be made to the USI Foundation for the USI Administrative Assistants & Associates Scholarship Endowment. Gifts can be made securely online at www.usi.edu/onlinegiving. Select “other” under Your Gift Designation and then type “Admin Asst./Assoc. Scholarship Endow.” in the Comments box.
The AA&A started in 1969 and is considered the oldest active organization on campus to date. One of the main purposes of the Administrative Assistants and Associates (AA&A) organization is to maintain a scholarship fund for eligible USI undergraduate students. For more information, please visit www.USI.edu/administrative-assistants-and-associates.
Del Doughty, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts
Of all the news stories that crossed my screen in November—the mid-term elections, the fallout from Elon Musk takeover at Twitter, the collapse of FTX, the swirl of politics around the World Cup in Qatar—the one that caught hold of my imagination was the one about the planet’s population crossing the 8 billion mark.
Eight billion people—that’s a lot. Just 11 years ago, we were at 7 billion, according to the United Nations. Demographers predict that in only 15 years, we will hit the 9 billion mark.
Can the planet sustain another billion people? Even now it feels as if resources are spread very thin. Imagine if those billion people all showed up tomorrow. It would be a disaster. We already lack sufficient housing for the people who are here now, energy grids strain to keep us cool as the climate warms, and supply chains struggle more and more to deliver food from farm to table in an efficient and equitable manner. You know those long lines you see at Chick-Fil-A every day? They would get much worse. How would we provide healthcare for these additional folks, many of whom would be elderly due to increasing longevity? And the mind reels to think about the immigration issues that would arise from so many people trying to find a decent place to live.
Factor some robots and the growth of artificial intelligence into the workforce, and you will quickly come to the conclusion that in 2037, we will be living in a different world.
We will need every bit of those 15 years to figure this out.
Okay, that’s heavy, especially as we approach the holidays. It’s probably safe to say that Hallmark won’t be reaching out to me for pitch ideas for Christmas movies any time soon. But if it’s any consolation, predictions about the future often miss the mark. So let’s all remain calm and try to enjoy the winter break.
But things will be different in 15 years, if not necessarily worse. Perhaps the sharpest comment I’ve read on the topic comes from Jennifer Sciubba, author of 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World: “Forecasts don’t predict the future—they drive investments in the present.”
With the future so wide open, that is the question: how best to invest our time and our resources in a world that will surely change . . . even if it is hard to say precisely how? What kinds of things do we need to study and learn to make the future a good and just one for everyone?
Going On Now
The exhibition includes fifty artworks all made within the past three years. The artist is generously donating all pieces from the exhibition to the USI Art and Design department; all works will be available as gifts to those who donate to the Art and Design program through the USI Foundation.
Fall 2022 Commencement Ceremonies
There are two ceremonies on this day:
College of Nursing and Health Professions
College of Liberal Arts
Romain College of Business
December 23 - January 2
No classes; University is Closed
Save the Date
Spring Semester Begins
January 9, 2023
Liberal Arts Faculty Colloquium
3 p.m. January 20, 2023
"The New Cold War in US Film: From Rocky to Creed and Comrade Detective" with Dr. Oana Popescu-Sandu
USI Foundation Scholarship Deadline
January 31, 2023
Students can become eligible to receive a scholarship from the USI Foundation in the 2023-24 academic year by completing the AwardSpring application through MyUSI.