Students, faculty discuss branding of Dornsife
Posted September 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm in News
What was once known as the USC College was dubbed âDornsifeâ after Dana and David Dornsife donated $200 million in March.
Now, the school wants an identity to go with that name. To find one, it is using the Dornsife Commons, a venue for students and faculty to discuss the future goals of the school, as a vehicle for input.
A diverse group of students, faculty and staff convened at the University Club on Thursday to discuss the future of the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
âStudents who are in the College are studying many different sorts of disciplines, [so] we cannot be related to careers or career opportunities as the identification of the college,â said Charles Lanski, professor of mathematics. âThere has to really be some kind of academic or intellectual identification that spans disciplines.â
Johannes Schmitt, a graduate student studying philosophy, raised the question of branding Dornsife College.
By and large, interdisciplinary studies surfaced as a way to develop the Dornsife identity. Jim Haw, professor of chemistry and director of the environmental studies program, talked about letting go of âthe disciplinary game,â the traditional path to professional advancement.
âIt is a revolutionary way of thinking about your career and your purpose and it does not occur without some people regarding you as turning your back on your career or your profession,â Haw said.
Muse Tan, a freshman majoring in psychology, came to discuss her hopes for modifying the collegeâs academic culture, which she sees marked by a domestic-international division as well.
âI think Dornsife should do more to let international students have more chances to voice our own values and beliefs,â Tan said. âAt the same time itâs good for domestic students to get out of their own ideas, so they can get culture shock [like I experience] once in a while.â
Eve Lee, assistant professor of German, saw her department disbanded in 2008.Â She said she came to find out about the future of German language study, which is in the Slavic Literatures and Languages Department.
Though the meeting did not ostensibly convene to address Dean Howard Gillmanâs departure in May, the issue loomed in peopleâs minds.
Though Gillmanâs announcement surprised many, its ultimate impact âdepends on who they have to replace him,â Lee said. âWe hope itâs someone who loves the humanities, who loves foreign languages.â
During the lunch, McCann called attention to the question featured in the Commons brochureâs event description, âWhat should the name âUSC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciencesâ mean?â
âNow I parse that as a philosopher; we know what the Dana and David Dornsife part means,â McCann said. âItâs the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences part we need to discuss.â
The discussion continues with a second Dornsife Commons lunch on Oct. 27.