University Alumni Association hosts anti-racism webinar Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 

By Victoria Doll —

The University of Louisville Alumni Association recently hosted an event in response to widespread racial unrest titled “Anti-Racism, Justice and Safety: Compatible or Conflicting Concepts?”

The event was moderated by College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Owens, and included Cherie Dawson-Edwards, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Aishia Brown, assistant professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences; and Keturah Herron, a policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

The conversation began as Owens asked how to reshape our community to make it safer and more humane for all.

Brown advised people to study history. She encouraged people to examine how polices already in place could be racist or have outcomes that have harmed the black and brown community.

Dawson-Edwards said her goal in educating people about anti-racism is to engage in deeper conversations about race despite the discomfort it sometimes brings.

The conversation around racism played into the discussion of the settlement between the city of Louisville and Breonna Taylor’s family. The settlement, which included $12 million paid to the Taylor family, included building community relations between the LMPD and the communities they police.

Herron, who was instrumental in the passing of Breonna’s Law, was excited and hopeful about this part of the settlement but remains hesitant and skeptical about how the policies are going to be implemented.

“It’s imperative that we take community engagement seriously,” Brown said, adding that there needs to be a way to hold people accountable. She said there needs to be guidelines to begin engagement between black citizens and police.

The panelists all agreed that there needs to be emphasis on the idea that the Breonna Taylor case is a race issue, not just an accident.

“To say her death isn’t about race is wrong. The aftermath has been about race. There needs to be awareness around the fact that Black women are treated differently by the state and in society,” Herron said.

The webinar ended with a conversation about how white people can be allies and promote accountability. Dawson-Edwards said that people need to learn from their missteps.

“Trust black women. Don’t try to explain it away. Listen, it will be uncomfortable, but you have to listen,” she said. “Own what you did, tell us how you aren’t going to do that again, don’t do it again, get in line and let’s move on.”

At the end of the event, the panelists encouraged people to educate themselves on instances of police brutality in America and to listen to the people of color in their communities.

“Acknowledge that there has been change, but we still need to push for more. This same thing can happen again if something is not done,” Dawson-Edwards said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L suspends searches for provost and A&S dean Friday, Mar 27 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

Interim Dean of College of Arts and Sciences David Owen announced March 23 that the University of Louisville’s search for a new A&S dean and a new provost will be suspended until the fall due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Owen said in the email announcement that the searches are suspended because it is not currently possible to conduct in-person interviews for the jobs.

“I count myself fortunate to lead A&S during these trying times—you all have truly demonstrated the Cardinal spirit in the past few weeks, and it is this spirit that makes us a community of care, and a family,” Owen said.

Owen shared in the email that he would stay on as interim dean until a new dean is selected. John Karman, director of media relations for U of L, confirmed that Provost Beth Boehm will also remain in her position until the new provost is selected.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L in the midst of a hiring freeze during COVID-19 crisis Friday, Mar 20 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

Amid all of the craziness surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the University of Louisville has placed a faculty hiring freeze in place.

U of L spokesman John Karman confirmed this. “All hiring is paused except for special circumstances,” he said.

This hiring freeze was set in place for two reasons: The economic impact felt from the COVID-19 crisis and U of L is expecting enrollment in the fall to go down. Arts & Sciences Dean David Owen said that they will be preparing and planning for the consequences of both possibilities.

Any prospect where letters of offer have been sent will not be affected by this freeze. The freeze applies to term lines, including new ones, along with on-going lines that are being vacated or filled.

In addition, all hiring of staff will be suspended immediately and is subject to the review of Dean Owen. “I know that we are already running below necessary staffing levels, but I will have to balance the desperate need for adequate staffing with the increasingly dire budget forecasts,” he said in an email.

There is no set timeline for how long this hiring freeze will be in place.

“How long this is in effect depends on how long the pandemic affects us and what the budgetary impact ends up being,” said Dean Owen.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Interim A&S College Dean is looking to make a positive impact Monday, Jan 13 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

After one week on the job, Arts & Sciences College interim Dean David Owen feels like he is already settled into his new position.

“I think she [Kempf-Leonard] left the college in solid shape,” said Owen. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t any work to be done. Owen shared his goals for his tenure Jan. 2, and one of them is keeping morale in a progressive state.

Kempf-Leonard focused on this during her five-year tenure. Owen said that although this area can be challenging, the place the College is in right now gives him a lot to work with and maintain this progress.

“They’re happy that we’re going to really do some intentional work on morale,” said Owen. “So I’m hearing feedback, positive feedback about that.”

He said he’s also fortunate that there hasn’t been any mention of budget cuts so far. “We don’t know yet exactly about [budget cuts], but everybody seems to be anticipating more or less a steady state budget, which is good news,” said Owen.

While keeping morale at a good place is a major priority, Owen wants to pass off the College to the next dean in a good place. “I need to be sure that I hand to the next dean a College that’s in as good shape as possible,” he said. “And that means having a good budget for next year.”

As the University of Louisville moves to a new budget model this year, Owen knows this is going to be a challenge he faces, but he is already praising his associate deans and staff for being helping hands along the way. “We have really great associate and assistant deans, [and] great senior staff over here,” he said. “They’ll make sure the college keeps running smoothly.”

Owen also wants to focus more on retention within the A&S College. One of the ways he plans on doing that is by becoming more visible to the students in the College. “My job is to make it so that students can flourish in their educational career,” he said.

Since he has already been serving as chair of philosophy, this won’t be as much of a challenge for him. “I do know a lot of students, and it’s nice to walk across campus and talk to students,” said Owen. “I think that’s helpful to know students, and I’m teaching this term, so getting to learn, getting to meet and get to know some newer students in my class [will help].”

Similar to Kempf-Leonard, one of the reasons he took on the role as interim dean was to help others. Along with teaching this semester, he said that he feels taking on this role will re-energize him while also making an impact on the College.

“I think we’re prepared to grow and move into the 2020s,” said Owen.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville 

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