The setting was intimate Tuesday at the #withDeanMartin event held in the basement of Bursley Residence Hall.
LSA Dean Andrew Martin hosted the open discussion Tuesday night, continuing a series of forums held last year.
The audience included a handful of freshmen as well as several dean ambassadors, the students who helped organize the event and work with Martin’s office over the year to engage with students as part of the Dean's Ambassador Program.
The tone was informal, with questions ranging from study tips to the dean’s role at the University.
Martin emphasized the importance of taking advantage of LSA’s growing internship programs, and said his office was looking into opening a Opportunity Center to ensure students are aware of internship opportunities.
“Last summer we provided over a thousand internships to LSA students, and we awarded over a half million in scholarship money such that any student could take an internship regardless of need,” he said.
He also described how LSA was creating a name for itself among employers in various pre-professional fields, such as business.
“Just within the last month, we’re having employers who are calling our internship office saying we’ve had your LSA students with their history majors, econ majors, political science majors,” he said. “We want to come interview LSA students for jobs.”
In addition, he said taking advantage of the liberal arts experience helps prepare students for life after college, noting that 94 percent of LSA students are employed or in graduate school six months after graduating.
Overall, Martin encouraged students to make the most of their time in the LSA.
“I’d pick whatever’s the most fun,” he said. “What’s the subject you find fascinating? That’s what you should chase after. And if you haven’t found that yet, keep looking.”
Martin said he plans on having two or three of these forums a semester at various locations around campus, as well as hosting open office hours once every three or four weeks.
“It’s really an opportunity for me to hear from students, and for us as a college to be responsive to whatever it is students want to talk about,” he said.
Social Work student Kendall Johnson, who is a graduate student adviser to the Dean's Ambassador Program, said she considered the evening successful despite the small turnout.
“The fact that Dean Martin is trying to reach out to students is different from other deans,” Johnson said. “So I think that students are seeing that, and it’s just going to be a matter of continuing to get the word out.”
LSA senior Jason Colella, president of LSA student government, thought the smaller setting was an interesting variation on past events.
“This one was more intimate and on a smaller scale, which allowed us to have a more personal conversation,” Colella said. “We maybe got less of the policy ideas out of it, but we got more heart-to-heart human reaction, which is a good perspective.”
Marjorie Horton, assistant dean for undergraduate education, said she hopes attendance is better in the future.
“I was disappointed that more first year students didn’t come because I think that it was really a very deliberate choice on Dean Martin’s part to come out to where the students live and be accessible,” Horton said.
She said she thinks working more closely with housing and involving residential advisors will expand the audience at future events.
The next of the dean’s forums will take place in Mary Markley Residence Hall on Oct. 29. A third forum is planned for Dec. 8 in the Michigan Union.