Jasper Enters Second Semester as Dean


Brian Utzat, writer (left), and Dean Jasper (right) after disscussing Jasper's new role at Moravian

In the spring of 2019, the Provost’s office announced that Dr. Daniel Jasper would become the new Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Moravian College. 

Jasper had been a sociology professor at Moravian since 2003, his research focusing on the religious and political identity in western India. When the deanship opened up last summer, he was asked by Provost Kosso to take the position. “It seemed like an exciting opportunity,” said Jasper, who replaced Uppinder Mehan, dean since 2017. “It was a chance to have an impact on the larger College than on just my department.” 

A semester into the job, Jasper said that his days start early and end late, with his commuting from his home in Manhattan, either driving the 90 minutes to and from Bethlehem — “if everything goes smoothly,” he says — or taking the Transbridge Bus. 

Once he gets to his office in Hamilton Hall, Jasper typically attends a myriad of meetings and deals with constant emails. “I meet with students, faculty members, and administrators about various issues,” he said, most of which concern “how the College runs and does the work that’s supposed to be done around here.” 

Meetings have addressed numerous topics, such as the mumps outbreak on campus last semester. In that case, Jasper found himself mostly working to support faculty and helping students who had trouble going to classes. 

Jasper’s bigger goal, as he sees it, is to use his new position to advance the core mission of Moravian. “We are living through a period of rapid change,” he said, referring in part to the rising cost of a college education and questions about its ultimate value. “But I believe that our strong liberal arts program provides students with the perspectives and tools they need to succeed in that world.”  

The challenge, Jasper said, is to make sure that students avail themselves of the program’s many disciplines and opportunities. 

And to change course when, and if, needed. 

“We need to constantly be asking the question as to whether or not we are relevant,” he said, “and that we are keeping the curriculum up to date so that students can see the connections between what they are learning and how it relates to the world we live in.”