Sandy Woodson named head of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Department
Sandy Woodson is the new head of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Department at Colorado School of Mines.
A longtime member of the Mines faculty, Woodson has taught ethics, environmental ethics and writing at the university since 1999 and currently holds the rank of teaching professor. Since 2003, she has served as the department’s undergraduate adviser, working with students of all majors to ensure they understand and meet the HASS graduation requirements.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead the Department of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Mines,” Woodson said. “Our faculty is amazing – they’re super dedicated to students and the mission of Mines and creative in making what we do relevant and interesting to our students. HASS isn’t just a box to check off – for many students, the opportunities we offer, in music, creative writing and more, are central to their experience at Mines. We help all students be better engineers, scientists and citizens of the world.”
Woodson holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Nonfiction, from the University of Montana, the terminal degree for fine arts. She also earned a MA in environmental ethics from Colorado State University, where her research focused on Hindu metaphysics as a grounding for environmental ethics, and a BA in multidisciplinary studies from North Carolina State University.
At Mines, Woodson has coached the school’s Ethics Bowl Team since 2015, with the all-STEM team earning a bid to the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics’ National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl five out of seven years and regularly beating teams from larger universities all over the region. In 2016, she was appointed director of Ethics Across Campus, expanding the activities, visibility and impact of the program on campus and beyond.
As department head, Woodson’s goals for HASS include bringing in new faculty who can both teach classes of interest to Mines students – on topics like risk communications, energy policy and psychology – and add depth of field for researchers in other academic departments.
Developing more signature student experiences, like this summer's art history trip to Italy and the new Environmental Leadership Lab in the fall, is another priority for the department in line with the university’s MINES@150 goals, she said.
“My job as department head is to incorporate what we do across campus and educate people on how the humanities and social scenes fit into good science and engineering,” Woodson said. “The truth is, the best engineers can do the things that we teach in HASS. If you don’t want to sit in a cubicle for the rest of your career, you’re going to have to learn how to write and communicate and lead and have empathy and show good judgment. These are the things that HASS prepares Mines students to do.”