Edward Inch, the new dean of Sacramento State’s College of Arts and Letters, is no stranger to Sacramento, and he plans to use his knowledge of the region to build more community connections with the college.
Inch began his new duties Aug. 1, replacing former Dean Jeffrey D. Mason, who retired in December.
Inch was previously dean of the School of Arts Communications at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. and chair of its Department of Communication and Theatre. He attended Western Washington University, the University of Oregon and University of Washington.
In 2006-07 he worked at Sacramento State as an American Council on Education Fellow, helping with budget pieces, working with Provost Joseph Sheley on the Strategic Planning Committee, and serving on the University Budget Task Force. “It was a really good experience,” Inch said. “I learned a lot about this place.”
Now he hopes to use his familiarity with the area to bring Sacramento State’s arts programs closer together with other local theaters, music groups and galleries.
Building those connections not only raises the public’s awareness about Sacramento State, it has other benefits as well. “It allows us to see how other people work, and to provide students with opportunities to have everything from internships, to performance opportunities, to gallery opportunities or jobs after graduation,” Inch says.
Inch plans to get out and involved in other community programs and projects, and bring campus outsiders to the University for special events.
To that end he is transforming the balcony on Mariposa Hall’s fifth floor into a welcoming patio, complete with foliage, chairs, tables and sun umbrellas. College representatives can host small receptions of guests, then walk from there to that night’s concert, performance or gallery reception. “This ought to be a space we use to celebrate the things that are positive and bind us together as a community.”
Making such connections parallels the mission of the college, to help students connect arts and letters. Arts – drawing, singing, acting – provide the spark of inspiration and creativity, Inch says. Letters – English, history, philosophy – then provide the means to think about, understand and critically analyze those ideas.
While some might say universities should focus on more applied knowledge and skills that high-tech employers desire, Inch says Arts and Letters will always make a major contribution to society. “This college focuses on cultural expression. How it is we understand, express and communicate about ourselves.”
For more information on the College of Arts and Letters, visit www.asn.csus.edu/