New LSA Dean Anne Curzan welcomed students back to campus with a pop-up event Thursday outside of Angell Hall to introduce herself to students. LSA representatives encouraged students walking by to chat with the dean and enjoy snacks and cornhole games during the event.
LSA Communications Director Tamra Talmadge-Anderson credited the dean for having come up with the idea.
“When we sat down and met with (Curzan) before she became dean, she said ‘It is so important to me that I connect with students, and I want to connect with them in ways that are fun and meaningful and give them the opportunity to talk with me,'” Talmadge-Anderson said.
According to Curzan, this is the first time the college has done this kind of spontaneous event to connect with students. The dean explained how, as she was planning her meetings at the beginning of the semester, she also wanted to hold an event to welcome undergraduates to LSA. Curzan worked with her team to plan the event three weeks ago, stressing the importance of play in an individual’s well-being as well as the importance of the connections between University faculty and students.
“It’s really important to me that LSA be a place where students feel like they can explore, find the subjects that they love to study, feel connected to faculty and other mentors on campus and then connect that education to whatever they want the next chapter to be,” Curzan said.
Talmadge-Anderson explained how the event was designed to be a pop-up event and the department used social media to spread awareness of the event. The day before, the LSA Twitter page teased the event with the hint of a “special guest.” The day of the event, Curzan sent out an email sharing her vision for LSA and inviting students to join her that evening.
Before becoming dean on Sept. 1, Curzan was an associate dean for the humanities as well as a professor of linguistics, education and English. She received a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University in English Language and Literature and appears regularly on Michigan Radio’s segment “That’s What They Say” about the English language. The dean explained how her work as a professor influences how she views her new position.
“We are as good as the people in the college, and so my job is to make sure that everybody can thrive,” Curzan said. “We’re gonna try to make sure that this is a place where students can enjoy learning … because that’s how you get the best education.”
LSA sophomore Jasmine Glover was passing by when she saw the crowds. She spoke with the dean, who asked her about how her classes were going and told her to explore her interests and passions before committing to a major. Glover expressed appreciation for the opportunity.
“She seems very enthusiastic about what she’s doing and really wants to help people,” Glover said. “It was really nice that she decided to do this and decided to come out and interact with us. That’s something I don’t typically see.”