2020 Theme: Representation
From the Dean: January 2020
While our complex and diverse College is continuously engaged in a multitude of multifaceted activities, I encourage us to focus this calendar year on the theme of “representation,” which I chose for both its timelessness as a foundational bedrock of American democracy and its timeliness as we enter a new decade.
Historically, the founders believed that, for representative democracy to work, people had to not only be educated, but also be able and willing to participate in democratic processes. That participation is made possible by the First Amendment and its protection of our basic freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Thus, in honor of this year’s College theme and its connection to democratic freedoms, I am establishing a First Amendment Fund, which will support related activities within the College by both students and faculty.
Currently, the year 2020 will see the confluence of two important national events that reflect the idea and the ideal of our representative form of government: the census and the elections. The decennial census is the Constitutionally mandated enumeration of everyone living in the U.S. and its territories. Census results offer a snapshot of who we are as a country (i.e., our statistical representation) and provide the basis for apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives (i.e., our political representation). Once elected to the House, our representatives do just as their title indicates – they represent the views of citizens in the process of governing the country on behalf of the publics in the Republic.
Most of you know that I was (and remain) excited to join the CSUF College of Communications because of our stated commitment to advancing a democratic society. While leaders will always bear the ultimate responsibility of making tough decisions, those efforts are usually enhanced by input from others. To that end, we will reconstitute this year opportunities for representation, for those interested and invested in the success of our College to have their voices heard, be they students and faculty, or alumni and community members.
Meanwhile, I invite your thoughts on “representation” and the ways in which we as a College community might reflect --- and reflect on --- this theme for the calendar year.
Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR