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Dr. Paula Krebs comes to Bridgewater State University from the President's Office at Wheaton College, where she helped establish partnerships with other colleges, the community, and local government.
It makes sense, then, that the founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences has ambitions at BSU to strengthen campus and community connections, break down disciplinary barriers, and create a unified vision for the college.
"I'm looking for links across the institution, and to enable students and faculty, to make those connections," said Dean Krebs.
A Victorian scholar and longtime English professor at Wheaton, Dean Krebs has published works on British imperial culture, including books on the Boer War and on Rudyard Kipling. She has worked for many years on issues of diversity in higher education and has been published in various publications, including the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Increasing cross-curricular learning in humanities and social sciences means, for example, marrying the arts with other, seemingly disparate areas of study, such as business, biology, environmental studies, and even computer sciences.
Artists can own businesses, literature majors may use science and technology for research, and all students should understand how to better their world and communities. Thus, the more subjects interrelate, the better chance students have to succeed, inside and outside the classroom, said Dean Krebs.
"Liberal education means that students are able to make these connections and take them with them after they graduate," she said. "Then they become the type of citizens we're looking to help to create."
Off campus, Dean Krebs said she hopes to help maintain the college's already strong presence in Bridgewater and beyond through promoting service learning opportunities, which benefit both students and the community.
"A regional state university is a living, breathing part of its community," she said. "We are, and should be, responsive to the needs of the region."
All her aspirations should help promote student achievement, which Dean Krebs said is her primary focus. After being at BSU just a few weeks, she said faculty and administrators seem to be on the same page. "Here, it's all about what will help the students," she said. "I like that."
Dean Krebs may have a lot on her plate, but as founding dean she relishes the opportunity to help faculty mold a unified vision for the college as work continues. "This is a great opportunity," she said. "It's ideal." (Rob Matheson, '07, G '12, University Advancement)