Dr. Carolyn Gascoigne will forever be able to claim the title as the first-ever dean of ASU’s College of Arts and Humanities.
The new college was officially formed on Sept. 1 when the former College of Arts and Sciences was split into the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Science and Engineering. Gascoigne arrived on campus July 1 from her former position as graduate program chair in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
“One of the first things I want to do, and I’ve asked faculty to start thinking about this, is we need to carve out an identity as a college,” Gascoigne said. “A lot of people don’t recognize what the arts and humanities are. I think when people don’t understand what you are, like they understand other colleges such as the College of Business or Education, there tends to be some skepticism. Some people understand the arts. But what are the humanities?”
On the “Arts” side of the college, Gascoigne oversees the art, music and theatre programs in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. At ASU, the humanities include English and modern languages, communication and mass media, history, political science and philosophy, and security studies and criminal justice.
“Employers want critical thinking skills—creative thinkers, not just critical thinkers,” Gascoigne said. “They want people with effective oral and written communication, and they want an adaptive and creative workforce, which is something we in the humanities can provide. We are, I believe, a necessity, not a luxury.”
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Gascoigne’s philosophy of life is about finding and pursuing your passion. She found her passion through French and higher education, though not without some initial hesitation.
“I never planned on pursuing higher education,” Gascoigne said. “I planned on finishing high school and being done. But when I did go to college, it was such a stimulating and positive environment that I just never wanted to leave.”
“They [employers] want people with effective oral and written communication, and they want an adaptive and creative workforce, which is something we in the humanities can provide.”
And she never did, initially earning her Bachelor of Arts in economics.
“I was told at a very young age that I shouldn’t pursue the languages,” Gascoigne said.
But her passion for modern languages won out, and she went on to earn her Master of Arts in French and her doctorate in French/second language acquisition. With higher education firmly in her blood, she joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska Omaha and stayed for 19 years before making the move to Angelo State.
One of the things that has struck her most since her arrival is all the activity on the ASU campus. With mention to all the speaker series, concerts, theatre productions and other events within her college alone, the amount of events and the size of the faculty surpass her prior experience.
When asked how she would describe how so much gets done, Gascoigne simply said, “I believe the word is ‘scrappy’—and I have a lot of respect for that.”
I Chose ASU—Dr. Carolyn Gascoigne
Why did you choose to work at ASU?
I was blown away during the interview process and during my online research of the institution by everything that ASU has to offer and accomplishes. In my opinion, it has the productivity of institutions twice its size. Simply put, I immediately knew that these are the type of people that I want to work with.
How do you find out about ASU?
A simple web search. You have a great web presence, by the way.
Where is your favorite place on campus and why?
The University Center for the energy and the noise of campus life.
What has been one of your most memorable experiences since coming to ASU?
It is too soon for a singular memorable experience to stand out. However, I am impressed with the warmth and helpful nature of everyone I have met.
Was there anything about ASU that surprised you when you started working here?
The work ethic of faculty and staff, as well as the dedication to students. There is a clear student focus.
What would you say to prospective students who are considering attending ASU?
ASU will provide you with a beautiful blend of rigor and caring, as well as access to activities and experiences of an institution twice its size.