Dear friends,

I am most excited to share with you the latest issue of Acumen. This issue revolves around the importance of research and this issue exemplifies the importance of research as our students and faculty continue to advance their respective fields.

At Lehigh, the College of Arts and Sciences fosters and supports academic inquiry. Research lies at the core of and arts and sciences education at Lehigh, and we recognize that research invariably leads to a better understanding of, and a deeper appreciativeness for, the field of study. At the undergraduate level, students' career goals usually clarify after they participate in research. How do will a student  know he or she wants to be a biologist, for example, unless he or she has opportunities to gain real-world experience in the laboratory?

The researcher's sense of persistent discovery shapes much of what we do in the College of Arts and Sciences and the stories in this issue demonstrate that commitment. Inside this issue of Acumen you will learn about Professor Nandini Deo’s exploration of feminism and social activism in India. You will also learn of graduate student Lillian Soto-Cordero’s investigation in seismic activity, and Danielle Taitt’s study of urban planning policies in Ghana.

A trademark of the College’s research culture is our commitment to supporting students as they follow new paths of inquiry. Funds for student research offer them learning opportunities that cannot always be achieved in a traditional classroom. Our goal is to provide every student in the College of Arts and Sciences with the opportunity to engage in research no matter their field of study. DanielleTaitt, a science, technology and society major, took advantage of funds established by Dale Strohl ’58 to conduct field research in Africa. The research and scholarship undertaken by the College is often recognized by alumni and friends. Inside this issue, you’ll also learn about an initiative supported by the Mellon Foundation to support college efforts to engage undergraduates with the local community and to foster meaningful interactions in the field of digital humanities. 

Research is vital to the continued success of our students, and we are keenly aware that our discoveries can effect change throughout the world. The research and creative work of our students often continues after leaving South Bethlehem. Inside, you’ll discover Brianna Eiter ’00, whose research is shedding light on the cognitive factors that influence mine workers’ ability to identify mine site safety hazards. And Heather Gilligan ’96 took her undergraduate degree in chemistry and went on to a successful career as a composer. 

This issue of Acumen again casts a spotlight on the talents and commitments of our students, faculty and alumni. The work we do is impossible without the interest and support of our alumni. We motivate students to reason and act in ways that will help their communities and help those around them. Our alumni go on and make wonderful things happen. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support, please contact Kelly Stazi, our director of development. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I have. I invite you to learn more about how alumni can play a role in these types of programs. As Lehigh alumni, you can help shape the future of students in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.



Donald E. Hall
Herbert and Ann Siegel Dean