New dean of Constantin College outlines threefold mission for the university

Faith Oakes, Contributing Writer

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Dr. Jonathan Sanford is the new dean of Constantin College of Liberal Arts as of Aug. 17. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

Dr. Jonathan Sanford assumed his role as the new dean of Constantin College of Liberal Arts on Aug. 17. He had previously acted as associate vice president for academic affairs at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he taught philosophy. During his time there, he helped create and implement a new core curriculum, which took its inspiration, in many ways from the core curriculum at UD. A renowned ethics scholar, he has written on metaphysics and virtue theory. His most recent book is “Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics.” He has done interviews with Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) and Relevant Radio regarding his work. He plans to focus much of his time on a threefold plan for the university, which he believes will fulfill the school’s mission as a premier Catholic liberal arts university.

First, Dr. Sanford aspires to help the university continue to improve implementation of its primary work that is, to encourage its students to pursue truth and wisdom and to form them in the Catholic and western intellectual traditions. He is eager to uphold the excellence he finds at the University of Dallas.

“UD has always sought to cultivate the intellectual virtues and strengthen the moral virtues in its students.” Dr. Sanford said. “In other words, I am striving to help this university do better what it has already done.”

Second, Dr. Sanford aims to strengthen UD’s role in providing the paradigm of liberal arts education in general, especially insofar as UD serves as model for other Catholic colleges and universities. “The University of Dallas is uniquely poised to point the way forward to a renaissance in Catholic higher education,” Dr. Sanford said.

Third, Dr. Sanford wants to help graduates to achieve higher levels of success by enhancing UD’s reputation. He noted that UD’s programs are excellent, but are not always known to be excellent. He said that more prestigious undergraduate programs greatly aid graduating students, whether they are applying for jobs or fellowships or to graduate institutions or medical or law programs.

Regarding his inspiration for the work he plans to do at the university, Dr. Sanford said, “I have a deep appreciation for close reading of important texts and for the Great Conversation of the Western Tradition.”

He said that his love for the Great Books began as early as high school, when he attended Trinity School at Greenlawn in South Bend, Indiana. Dr. Sanford then received his Honors Baccalaureate degree from Xavier University in an interdisciplinary field combining literature, classical languages and philosophy, and went on to complete his doctorate in philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Other members of the administration are glad to have Dr. Sanford on campus.

“Dr. Sanford’s vision and fit with the Constantin College of Liberal Arts stood out,” Provost Dr. C.W. Eaker said. “The university is fortunate to have the benefit of his leadership and academic distinction.”

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