By: Chelsea Platt ’13
“Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?” This Gabrielle Roy quote is the favorite of Janet L. Shideler, Ph.D., Siena College’s new dean of the School of Liberal Arts who also teaches in the modern languages department.
“I always wanted to be a teacher. I fell in love with French when I immigrated to Canada at the age of 12. One outstanding teacher in particular was my role model, and I knew, from my first day in his class, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Shideler said.
“We’re proud that our students become innovative innovators, ethical leaders, effective communicators, critical thinkers and responsible citizens. I believe that this is the perfect time for a liberal arts education.”She pursued this dream when she obtained her bachelor of arts in French from the University of Toronto, Trinity College; master of arts in French from McGill University and doctorate in French from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Shideler has an impressive list of previous employments, including her term as the associate dean at the center for distance learning at SUNY Empire State College and the associate dean and graduate program director in the School of Liberal Arts at Excelsior College.
Siena is a refreshing change for Shideler as she can return to her roots as a teacher. “I have especially enjoyed interacting with students in the classroom. I am teaching French Conversation this semester, and each Tuesday and Thursday I can’t wait to see my students again. They’re a joyous reminder of why I went into higher education. There is something quite extraordinary about their energy, enthusiasm and intellect.”
Shideler’s appreciation for Siena’s students serves as her inspiration for changing the view that the world has on a liberal arts education. One of her goals as dean is to make prospective students aware that the skills learned through a degree in liberal arts are exactly what employers are looking for these days.
“We’re proud that our students become innovative innovators, ethical leaders, effective communicators, critical thinkers and responsible citizens. I believe that this is the perfect time for a liberal arts education.”
With Shideler at the helm, the School of Liberal Arts has an excellent advocate that will help fill Siena classrooms with the energy, enthusiasm and intellect that has present for the last 75 years.