Skip to content
Contact USI

What happened this Summer and what is to come?

While students were soaking up the summer sun on a well-deserved break, our faculty and staff were hard at work prepping for the Fall Semester and doing field research to enrich their minds and classrooms! Let's hear from Dean Doughty about what he did this summer and what you can expect for Fall 2023.

Del Doughty, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

A Word from the Dean

The week before the Fall Semester gets underway is filled with meetings. This year, it began on Monday morning with the University’s Council of Chairs. The next day we had the all-university meeting in the morning, which was followed by our college meeting later that afternoon. Then on Wednesday morning, I met with our department chairs for an off-campus retreat. By that afternoon, my battery light was flashing and I was only halfway through the week! 

Apart from feeling tired, that’s not a complaint. I actually like meetings. I realized years ago that you can’t say “I like to collaborate with others,” which everyone says, and also say, “Ugh, I hate meetings.”  If you like to collaborate, then it would make sense that you would like meetings because meetings are where collaboration happens. 

Anyhow, this year’s back-to-school meetings featured a few common threads, the most prominent of which was the arrival of artificial intelligence. We all recognize that it is no longer in our future but in our present. How will we adapt to the challenges it presents? Will students use it to write their papers and assignments instead of doing the work themselves, and how will we know if they do? Will AI erode the expertise that faculty offer in our respective subject areas? And what are the upsides of AI? What best practices will emerge in using the technology creatively in the classroom and in our own scholarship and artistic work?  So many questions and not a little bit of anxiety. 

Speaking of anxiety, mental health also came up frequently in back-to-school meetings. Although there is a general sense that people (both students and faculty) are feeling better than they did during the peak of the pandemic, and some evidence to support it, the demand for mental health services still exceeds our ability to meet it to our satisfaction, and so we spent a fair amount of time in some of these meetings reminding ourselves of resources and sharpening our skills for dealing with people in crisis.  

These past four or five years have kept us busy keeping up with change in higher education, and I haven’t even mentioned any of the legal decisions that re-shape the way that people think and talk about college. 

As academics, we are a tradition-loving people. Our institutions retain many of their medieval features—you see it not just in our ceremonies and regalia, but in our language (if you are pursuing a “baccalaureate” degree, you have follow a certain “curriculum” that has been established by the faculty in your “college,” which is headed by a “dean” who reports to a “provost”—those words have long lineages and remain unique to our enterprise) and in our principles, like academic freedom. And of course, every institution has its own long-standing traditions that are unique to it and to which it clings. Looking at it that way, from the outside, it might appear that colleges and universities are slow to change and even, perhaps, resistant to change. But I would argue the contrary: we are an adaptable people, and never so more than lately. We hold onto our values and standards while learning how to do things like meet the pedagogical needs of new generations, in new modalities, and in new formats. Within our disciplines, methods of study and practice constantly evolve, and new knowledge is produced at such a rate that if you look away from the field for even a short time, you quickly fall behind. So, while we may appear monkish in our garb and use a vocabulary that sounds antique at times, we also have a record of being up for any challenge. Bring on the robots! 

What's New at the College?

The Renaissance Challenge

We Challenge incoming Freshmen to think about being a person of many talents and expert knowledge in all walks of life. With varied interests and talents, a Renaissance person is a creative scholar, well versed in political and popular culture, and active in their community.

Goals for the Challenge:

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Acquiring Practical Skills
  • Learning about different Cultures
  • Explore your Community
  • Global Awareness
  • Staying Informed

Check out the Fall 2023 Challenges!

The USI Society of Arts and Humanities is back!

The USI Society for Arts and Humanities enriches the lives of students and provides communication between the community and the University of Southern Indiana's various arts and humanities activities. In nurturing these relationships, the Society is especially proud to fund four full-tuition scholarships to USI and to support student development by assisting student research and travel to conferences, museums, concerts and exhibits.

Learn more about SAH here.

Alum Spotlight

Carlie J. Syczylo

Class of 2023

BA in Global Studies and Spanish

"I have returned from my trip to Spain, which was made possible by the Patricia L. Aakhus International Studies Travel Scholarship. I am extremely grateful to the Global Studies Department at USI for providing me gracious support to travel and enrich my studies as a Global Studies and Spanish Major. I was able to travel through three different cities: Madrid, Barcelona, and Sevilla. I was able to practice a different dialect of Spanish than what I originally learned at USI and in Costa Rica, eat delicious tapas, and view historic landmarks. Thanks to this scholarship, I am now considering living in Spain in the future to utilize my Teaching English as a Second Language Certification, which I obtained my senior year at USI."

See More Spotlights from the Global Studies Program

Madyson Lowe

Class of 2023

Legal Secretary at Johnson, Carroll, Norton & Kent, P.C.

"USI gave me the opportunity to find out who I was. I started USI as an Accounting major but, through lots of searching and help with the faculty, found out that my passion was for Criminal Justice and, more specifically, law. I also had the opportunity to serve on the Executive Board for the Criminal Justice Student Association where I made connections and some amazing friends."

See More Spotlights from the Criminal Justice Program

Featured Events

Author Margaret McMullan to present at USI Rechnic Holocaust Series

The USI Foundation will welcome award-winning author Margaret McMullan to campus on September 18 as the second speaker for the annual Edward D. and Regina Rechnic Holocaust Series.

McMullan will present "My Family's Holocaust Story and the Threats We Face Today," followed by a Q&A session and reception. The event is open to the public at no charge.

More about McMullan

USI Theater presents Dracula!

Kate Hamill, Directed by Eric Altheide

October 12-15, 2023, in the USI Performance Center.

When your survival is at stake…will you be able to distinguish the monster from the man? Both terrifying and riotous, Kate Hamill’s imaginative, gender-bending “feminist revenge fantasy” is like no Dracula you’ve ever seen—exploring the nature of predators and reinventing the story as a smart, disquieting, darkly comic drama.  Hamill’s signature style and postmodern with upends this familiar tale of Victorian vampires—driving a stake through the heart of toxic masculinity.

Get your tickets now!

College of Liberal Arts Achievements

Norma Rosas Mayén, Professor of Spanish, traveled to Cuba to conduct field research on the Cuban Jewish community. She is currently working on a scholarly article based on her findings that will shed light on the progressive deterioration of the two Jewish cemeteries in Guanabacoa. Hopefully, with this deterioration documented a loss of these historical and cultural site will be avoided.

Dr. Bartell M. Berg Ph.D., Associate Professor of German, is launching SPARK for German at USI and in the Evansville community. "SPARK offers a playful approach to German learning in after school programs – providing early access to language instruction and creating opportunities for students to learn German into advanced levels." Learn more about the program here.

Dr. Kelly E. D. Kaelin, Assistant Professor of History, was awarded a grant to visit and perform archival research on a trip to Germany. While she was on her trip, she presented her "preliminary research from [her] book project on global Protestantism in the eighteenth-century."

Dr. Rocco J. Gennaro, Professor of Philosophy, gave two presentations at conferences over the summer where he was cited in articles in both The Economist and Psychology Today. He also secured a contract for a forthcoming book entitled Dialogues on Minds, Machines, and AI, Routledge Press.

Dr. Trent A. Engbers, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, served as an expert advisor for the International Laboratory for Digital Transformation in Public Administration. The Moscow-based think tank is dedicated to research on digital resources and information technology to improve public services and civic participation in Russia. Trent was part of a panel including Eran Vigoda-Gadot (Israel), Doni Beck (Brazil) and Evan Berman (Brazil) that advised the center on developing research strategies to strength democracy and the quality of governance in Russia.

On a more personal note, he came in 3rd in his age group in the Evansville City Swim meet in the Individual Medley (100 meters butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle).

See more achievements from the College of Liberal Arts

Upcoming Events

Renaissance Challenge kick-off

August 30

College of Liberal Arts Labyrinth

How to Become a Philanthropist: Lindsay Locasto

2 p.m. September 6

Rice Library 2nd floor Reading Room

Liberal Arts Faculty Colloquium Series

3 p.m. September 8

College of Liberal Arts

USI Rechnic Holocaust Series

7 p.m. September 18

University Center West


October 12-15, 2023

Performance Center

USI Chamber Choir & Women’s Choir Fall Concert

3 p.m. October 30

Rice Library, 2nd Floor Reading Room

Friday Night in the Forum Film Series

Starting in November

Forum I, Wright Administration Building

Exit Pursued by a Bear

November 16-19, 2023

Performance Center

USI Madrigal Feaste

7 p.m. November 30, December 1 & 2

1 p.m. December 3

Carter Hall

WLC Holiday Sing Along

12 to 1 p.m., December 1, 2023

Campus Labyrinth

USI Chamber Choir & Women’s Choir present “Music for the Feaste of Christmas”

7 p.m. December 10

St. Benedict’s Cathedral in Evansville.