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College of Arts and Sciences, The Heart of Santa Clara University
Pearl Barros
Pearl Barros '05, currently an assistant professor of religious studies at SCU, contributed a sermon to Catholic Women Preach honoring the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In her sermon, she reflects on the “dangerous memory of Mary”—one that “challenges depictions of Mary’s life that attempt to neutralize its radical implications for pushing against injustice and its call to stand in compassionate solidarity with all who suffer.”

Greetings Bronco Parents,

What a year! In my short 6-months since taking the helm here at the College of Arts and Sciences, I have been so impressed with our faculty, staff, student, and alumni community. From our Public Health and Biology faculty stepping up to lead Santa Clara University’s campus-wide COVID-19 response to our incredibly driven students who designed Santa Clara’s LEVL UP Program working to help all students get the most out of their online education, members of our community have illustrated their dedication to the success of this institution, and have made me proud to be a part of it.

Perhaps what strikes me as most impressive is how much more our campus community has worked during the pandemic. Although we have been so limited by lockdowns and other restrictions, faculty, staff, and students have all increased their efforts—to teach, learn, manage labs and facilities, and nurture those in need. During COVID-19, we have been more, done more and tried harder, not less. Our Santa Clara University absence has been so, well...present!

We have faced many challenges this year, but I am confident that we will emerge from this difficult time with even stronger bonds and new ways of working together that will serve us well once COVID-19 is behind us. These challenges have certainly shaped my priorities as Dean and will be what drive us towards a better future for all within our community.

Despite the many ways in which we have improved remote instruction, we know that face-to-face learning really works best, so a big priority of mine will be growing our internships and other experiential education opportunities. I especially hope that you—our College alumni, donors, and parents—will embrace today's students and offer them ever greater work and learning opportunities in your businesses, schools, labs, medical facilities and other organizations.

As you may know, I view our efforts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a high priority for the College. Accordingly, I will be joining with many others on campus to increase the access and affordability of a Santa Clara University education to more students, especially from under-represented communities.

I'm also excited at the prospect of founding a new Center for Teaching and Learning. Even before the pandemic, we knew that higher education today can continually improve how we teach in response to the myriad ways in which we learn. A new Center for Teaching and Learning could help our faculty evolve and grow as teachers so that they may best meet the needs, aspirations, and skills of our students.

Given that the global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we teach, learn, and function at Santa Clara (at least temporarily), I wanted to provide you with a look at how our community has responded. Within this issue, you’ll find examples of the resilience and determination of our community and the creative ways that we have been able to continue teaching and learning in a remote environment.

I wish you a peaceful, safe and restorative holiday season. And with luck, perseverance, and hard work, I will see you in person in a few months!


Daniel Press
College of Arts and Sciences

How are the arts adapting to the virtual space?
To Hear and Be Heard art exhibit

The Art and Art History Department Gallery is hosting the first virtual art exhibit at SCU, To Hear and Be Heard, curated by local independent art curator Marianne McGrath. Through the art of 17 artists working in diverse mediums, this exhibit considers civility and is available online through January 22.

View the exhibit

Scot Hanna-Weir, October 2020

The SCU Chamber Singers have continued to perform live during spring and fall quarters this year. Led by Scot Hanna-Weir, these students have been rehearsing entirely online in order to continue to make music. Listen to their 10-minute fall performance, “SCU Chamber Singers: Live from Everywhere.”

Watch the Video

Are SCU science faculty and students able to continue their research?
Virtual Science storyIt has been a challenge, but research has continued remotely. As you’ll see in this article, faculty and students have been able to continue asking questions and searching for answers, though it does look different than it did before.

Read more

How are faculty teaching in the online environment?

Adapting courses to a virtual format has been a big challenge for our faculty. Over the summer, SCU offered a course to “teach the teachers” with strategies for online teaching. About 400 faculty completed the course, and student feedback has reflected a remarkable improvement from Spring courses. Here are a couple stories of how faculty in the College have adapted their courses.


How are alumni contributing during COVID-19?

Santa Clara’s emphasis on “people for and with others” has really shown through during these challenging times. Many alumni have stepped up to help those in their communities stay safe during the pandemic. Explore these alumni stories from the Alumni Association’s “Broncos on the Frontlines” series.

Terrance Horan '06Terrance Horan '06 (Combined Sciences) currently works as an emergency medicine specialist in Sacramento.

Read more

MaryAnn Dakkak '04MaryAnn Dakkak '04 (Biology) has been treating COVID-19 patients from the Emergency Department at Boston Medical Center.

Read more

Ted Mikuls '90Todd Rahmi '90 (English) & Ted Mikuls '90 (Combined Sciences) obtained enough personal protective equipment to keep frontline medical professionals safe.

Read more

Traci Thomas '07Traci Thomas '07 (Biology) is working day and night (literally) to care for patients, many of whom are suffering from COVID-19.

Read more

Sonia Suri '13Sonia Suri '13 (Public Health) is striving to be flexible and gracious as she works to bring a human connection to her patients while advocating for herself and her fellow nurses.

Read more


Our alumni are constantly on the move. Explore more alumni stories online through our Alumni Profiles page.

In addition to these inspiring stories, the SCU Alumni Association has created a Bronco Business Registry where Broncos can support other Broncos! As you’re planning holiday gifts for friends and family this year, consider supporting those in the Bronco community.

Upcoming Events
Rhiannon Giddens Winter Residency

Save the date and explore Rhiannon's Fall 2020 Residency


View the full College of Arts and Sciences Calendar


Join the conversation!


Santa Clara University
College of Arts and Sciences
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408.554.4455