eric chasalow addresses the incoming class

Dean Eric Chasalow addresses the incoming class

Photo Credit: Simon Goodacre

August 29, 2017

Simon Goodacre | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

On August 28, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) welcomed its 64th class, which includes 77 doctoral candidates, 202 master's candidates, 6 postbaccalaureate students, and 21 non-degree students. “We spend a lot of time reading applications from all kinds of interesting students,” says Jaclyn Farina, Director of Admissions, “so meeting them in person is always an exciting time of year for us. Members of the 2017 class journeyed from 29 countries and 31 states to join the Brandeis community, and I can’t wait to see what their impact will be on the university.”

The orientation program opened with students meeting scholars and faculty and staff in their academic departments. “Departmental support is vital for graduate students, so we wanted to emphasize the importance of building those relationships right away,” said Steven Weglinski, Assistant Director of Graduate Student Affairs. Later in the day, the incoming class came together for campus tours and to hear remarks from the deans.

Current students and alumni have been sharing advice for the incoming class throughout the month of August on Facebook and Twitter. Several recommended “taking full advantage of the smaller size of the school,” which allows for “more one-on-one time with professors and mentors.”

Eric Chasalow, the GSAS Dean, also referenced the smaller size of the university in his remarks. “‘Interdisciplinary’ has become a bit of a buzzword in academia,” he said, “but breaking down traditional academic boundaries is something we take very seriously at Brandeis. Many of you are pursuing degrees in departments that are inherently interdisciplinary, but I encourage those of you who are not to get out of your comfort zones and attend events with scholars across the university.”

The final remarks came from Susan Birren, the Dean of Arts and Sciences. She reminded students that there is a good chance they will become leading experts in their fields while studying at Brandeis. “By the time you are finished, there may be nobody in the world who knows more about your topic than you do,” she said. Like Chasalow, she also encouraged students to “get out of the library and the lab and meet other members of the community,” adding, “I promise your advisor will be OK with it!” Her final comment summed up the spirit of the occasion: “I have been a member of the faculty at Brandeis for 20 years, and there is no place I would rather be. I am so glad that all of you are joining our community.”