Doing the Most Good for Others
On April 19, College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman announced that he will be leaving the University of Minnesota to become Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dean Coleman has served as CLA's dean for nine remarkable years, focusing his efforts on four key areas: ensuring that CLA alumni are the most desirable graduates available, relentlessly focusing on research and creative excellence, advancing diversity to mirror the community at large, and deepening a culture of engagement for CLA's alumni, community, and state.
Dean Coleman has served both CLA and the University with distinction. As CLA dean, he has further advanced the excellence of the largest and most academically diverse college within the University of Minnesota system, including research and creative work; student success; and public engagement. His national, local, and University leadership has positioned the college strongly for the future.
Provost Rachel T.A. Croson
During his tenure, Dean Coleman emphasized a commitment to being the best in the world and the best for the world, to transforming lives and doing the most good for others. He proudly claimed the mantle that "the liberal arts are front page news"—uniquely situated to talk about, analyze, and propose solutions to the problems that dominate our headlines. He also championed the liberal arts as connectors, bridging together disciplines and sets of knowledge to build empathy, democracy, and community.
Dean Coleman's vision of CLA as "the opportunity college," a place where students, staff, and faculty come together to transform lives and build more just futures, has resulted in several meaningful, long-lasting accomplishments.
Under his leadership, CLA has:
We invested in research and creative work through investments in hiring, with over one-third of the tenure-stream faculty in CLA arriving since fall 2014. We also strengthened support for graduate students and added new, flexible research funding streams.
We advanced student success through the development of Career Readiness and expanded career services for both undergraduate and graduate students; enhanced support for transfer students; launched the Public Life Project; and added new cross-college degrees. Prior to the pandemic, we reached all-time highs in graduation and retention rates.
We’ve made DEI central to the college’s operations through the creation of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; support for the Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Center; and the initiation of important equity review processes.
We’ve deepened our commitment to reciprocal and public engagement through the creation of the Liberal Arts Engagement Hub.
We’ve provided long-term support for our work through a highly successful Shattering Expectations campaign, raising $182 million and increasing our endowment by 75%.
“It has been my great fortune to work with such wonderful people in the college, to collaborate with great leaders at the college and unit levels, and to engage with our community of alumni, donors, and friends who are passionate about the liberal arts. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you to ensure we expand opportunity and we enhance impact through the vital work of the liberal arts and through the first-rate research, education, and engagement of this marvelous college.”
John Coleman, Dean