The North Central English Department will offer you a deep appreciation and comprehension of the English and prepare you for lifelong learning. The English program offers you skills that anyone will need to possess to be successful in the 21st century.
Dr. Desiree Libengood’s Vision for the College of Arts and Sciences
A few days ago, I had the privilege to interview Dr. Desirée Libengood, the Dean of the CAS (College of Arts and Sciences). Even though I’ve been at NCU on and off since 2016, I had yet to have a class with her or even meet her! That’s my fault, partially since I have heard many students talking so highly about her with such respect that only the most excellent teachers earn.
When I was tasked with interviewing her for the Love Your Neighbor initiative, I knew I would finally be able to put a name to a face. I honestly hoped to learn more about her, but also the Love Your Neighbor Initiative and CAS itself. Being that I am an Entrepreneurship student at NCU, I knew I had a blank slate in front of me.
Dr. Libengood joined our NCU faculty in 2010. She attended North Central as a student, earning her bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing and her master’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas. She also lives with her husband, Lance, and their five children in Eden Prairie, MN.
As most zoom call’s right now, we started out by small-talking about our own COVID-19 situations before getting into the interview. We start with the Love Your Neighbor Initiative.
Share with me what you know about the Love Your Neighbor initiative, and why it is important to the College of Arts & Sciences?
I heard once that a college should know about everything going in its community within a one-mile radius. The one mile isn’t a great idea because things could happen right outside of the one mile. Learning how to be volunteers within the community is something that’s critical for college students because it helps to be intimately connected to their community. Since we as a college have access to resources (example knowing that the Somali population is digitally being taken advantage of), we not only know what’s going on but are able to help.
For CAS and the Love Your Neighbor initiative, do you have some concrete examples of students have done or could be doing in the future?
Some of the past projects that we have participated in were helping in the homeless encampment and the little earth Native American community. As of right now, there are some projects in the works, but it’s currently too early to talk about them.
To your knowledge, is there anything like the Love Your Neighbor initiative at other local schools?
I’m not quite sure if there is exactly anything similar. Crown does some stuff and St. Thomas does a lot which goes with the Catholic ideology. Most schools can’t do something exactly like this based on their locations.
“The ideal student is someone who loves God first, but also is an engaged student and someone who is curious about the world around them”
– Dr. Desiree Libengood
From here on, I wanted to learn about the CAS program. Being a business student, I wasn’t at all familiar with what goes on that part of school. I wanted to learn about her perspective on our student body and the community, along with her vision for CAS’s future.
Why do you believe NCU should invest in the community? Why are these real world experiences important to the classroom and to you?
I’ve has always had this core belief that students should be invested in their community while going to school here. When we strive to invest in the community by bringing together diverse ideas or developing projects, students will always get a better education. NCU values bringing real world experiences into the classroom because it helps get students ready for the real world. It’s all about getting students ready for graduation.
Tell me about your ideal student – what characteristics do they possess and why are they successful in your program?
It’s a student who loves God first, but also is an engaged student and someone who is curious about the world around them.
If you could share one story with a prospective student or parent that might influence them attending North Central, what would you share?
The times when students from our student body volunteered to help with the Little Earth community project and Hiawatha Homeless Encampment. Our students played a parting helping those community issues.
“At NCU we have a unique opportunity to do something based on our location. If your school is next to cornfields, there is only so much that you can do in that community.”
– Dr. Desiree Libengood
I ended the interview with questions CAS, but also specifically on the English program here at NCU. I wanted to know a little more about where the English department was and get a sense where its going. I found her answers interesting and thought provoking.
Is there anything you want non-English NCU students to know about English students?
Not all CAS majors want to go work at a coffee shop and write poetry all day. Most end up in successful, high-paying jobs after graduation in a multitude of sectors.
Is there anything that stands out about the CAS, and specifically the English program?
At NCU we have a unique opportunity to do something based on our location. If your school is next to cornfields, there is only so much that you can do in that community.
Where do you want to see CAS specifically the COMM/ENG in 5 -10 years?
I would like to see more majors added into the science program (which includes the biology major coming next year). Her personal hope is that NCU would get a nursing a degree at some point, but before that we need to add more science classes which what is currently happening. After we diversify out majors, her vision, she says, is to focus on each of the programs growing.
I not only learned more about NCU, but meeting Dr. Libengood (albeit via Zoom call) made me appreciate my school just a little bit more. The theme that she kept coming back to over and over again was community; how can NCU be a part of its community? Regardless of where you are reading this from, whether from Minneapolis or another city, that is a question that we should be asking ourselves a little more often.
Joshua Centellas – Student at NCU