Dean Laurie Baefsky 

Message from the Dean

It is my incredible honor to join you as a colleague and as your new dean of the College of the Arts and Media. In my first week with CAM, I’ve learned that the University of Montana is an extraordinarily special place. It is unmistakable how deeply you, our students, as well as faculty, staff, and community care about this place. I invite you to join together as one CAM community in co-creating our college for the next decade. Let’s build on the rich heritage of so many stellar programs, towards a College of the Arts and Media that is relevant, inclusive, and bold in vision and execution.


Beginning my tenure in the middle of a pandemic, I must acknowledge 2020 as being a bizarre, challenging and unpredictable year…and also recognize we will continue to live in this liminal space a bit longer. Since last March, most of us have been separated from our families, colleagues, and friends. We’ve all missed fairs, festivals, parties, and holiday gatherings. Concerts, openings, exhibitions, tours—cancelled or streamed. In the first months of the pandemic, unemployment among artists was greater than 60%, with 95% of creative workers reporting a significant loss of income. With the pandemic, also came a crash course in online and hybrid teaching and learning, an ever-evolving seminar on virus transmission, as well as an oppressive concern and ambiguity over the deepening divisions in society and as a people.  


What gives me stubborn hope are the countless acts of generosity, imagination and empathy in the arts and media world this past year. It is inspiring to see the ways our creative industries have pulled together. Through the stunning content generated in home studios and freely shared, it was the makers—us—who helped pull the world out of isolation, gave us all some hope, created meaningful connections, and, just as importantly, saved us from extreme boredom. It provided purpose for ourselves and others. During these many months of lock-down, as creatives, educators, and mentors, we have all learned to connect in new ways with our audiences and with our amazing students. We proved we can make it work.


Kindest regards,

Laurie Baefsky
College of the Arts and Media


"What will matter more than what just happened is what we decide to do with where we are, daily, persistently, generously…" —Seth Godin