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Singled Out


    Andrew Moore, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, aims to move RIT's liberal arts curriculum into the technology era. The University Magazine caught up with Moore last fall to unearth his interests and his plans for the college.

    A passion for archaeology, coupled with a pragmatic nature (not to mention hard work and a successful career), are what brought Andrew Moore to academia and thus to RIT. His keen responsiveness to history and his bold vision for education's future give him the foundation to push RIT's College of Liberal Arts into the forefront of humanities curricula in technical institutions.

    Moore came to RIT after a nine-year stint as associate dean in the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Anthropology brought him to Yale in 1983, when he was hired as an assistant professor in that department.

    The moment he opened a book on archaeology at age 12, Andrew Moore went in fervent pursuit of antiquity: "The human past gripped me; its hold has never diminished," he says, seated in his second-floor office. From the age of 16, Moore made himself part of excavations in England, so enamored of archaeology that he would have made it his lifework. "But I had to make a living. It was clear that jobs in archaeology were few. I chose the academic track."

    Throughout his academic career, though, Moore has "dug" as well as taught archaeology. As an undergraduate at Oxford University, Moore saw his first dig in the Mideast. That led to the excavation of Abu Hureyra in Syria, yielding the oldest evidence of farming in the world. As director of the Jericho Project, Moore surveys Tell es-Sultan, the site of ancient Jericho, and the surrounding Jordan Valley. "The evolution of society in biological and ecological terms fascinates me . . . the human past is everybody's past. At one time or another there has been a major advancement in every area of the world," he says. "Archaeology gets to our common humanity. Understandings from our human past give us the self knowledge needed to survive and continue to thrive."

    And his plans for the College of Liberal Arts? Moore sees a future where the liberal-arts curriculum at RIT intertwines with technology, rather than sits alongside it. Philosophy courses, for example, might consider the ethics of a new technology; the social sciences could help students adapt to cultural differences in the global marketplace they will eventually work within.

    "High school education has metamorphosed," he says. "Students come to RIT with an innate knowledge of the uses of technology and enjoy an energetic and dynamic learning environment." RIT humanities courses must address that change, he says. A faculty committee looking at the new ways students learn will develop some proposals to accommodate that style, he says. Committee members will consider class size, for example, as well as incorporating new technology into the liberl arts classroom.

    "I see more research opportunities in the liberal arts, with an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research," Moore says.

    "Clearly, there is evidence of the value of the study of the humanities in a technological world. Such study will provide a richer and more engaging evironment for RIT students."