Inside Dedman College

Fall 2019 / Winter 2020, Vol. 05

“Well, What Do You Know!?”

A Message from Thomas DiPiero, Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Dedman College Dean, Thomas DiPiero, smiles for a headshot in front of a gray background.

The expression seems to be declining in popularity somewhat, but it’s still relatively common: when you learn something that’s mildly surprising and perhaps runs counter to your expectations, you exclaim: “Well, what do you know!?” A few generations back, the expression “Hello, Joe, what do you know?” was a not uncommon, somewhat jocular way of greeting someone.

“What do you know?!” is both a question and an exclamation, and that is why it is a fitting way of opening this issue of Inside Dedman College. We ask questions about the world, its people, and their past and present creations, and the answers to those questions constantly and inevitably amaze us. Our students and alumni never tire of telling us the myriad ways they continue to use what they have learned with us. Inside you will find interviews with faculty and alumni that have to do with the manners and modes of knowing that formed them intellectually as young people and that continue to influence the way they think and live today.

Every one of the people you will meet learned intricate analytical strategies for encountering our complex world when they were undergraduates in Dedman College, and all of them continue to draw upon, complement, and refine their educations in the roles they currently occupy. One is a family practice physician and also a healthcare educator; another is a successful business entrepreneur; still others are already continuing their educations with advanced degrees in the newest graduate program in Dedman College: Organizational Psychology. Finally, Professor Robert Howell, one of our faculty members and chair of the department of philosophy, explains how important it is for each of us to know and to interrogate how technology functions in our public and private lives. He tells us why one of the newest ways of knowing on campus – a highly popular course entitled “Technology, Society, and Value” – is helping us all understand that privacy is a collective property that belongs to the community, and that all of us need to be informed not just about technology but also about the values it touches in order to make our most important decisions.

“What do you know!” as an exclamation evinces a speaker’s pleasant surprise to find an unexpected and productive conjuncture of apparently unrelated thoughts – which is, if you think about it, how we produce new knowledge in our lives as well as in the University. “What do you know?” as a question is an invitation to explore your curiosity, your ways of understanding the world, and your capacities for comprehending yourself. That’s what we ask it hundreds of times every day in Dedman College, and the results, we promise, will always surprise – and delight – you.