Bryan Hall doesn’t like to define himself in one area or the other.
As the new dean of the College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, he knows he can’t box in the students in his college.
And as a horror movie fan (favorite movie: “Shaun of the Dead”) who loves the outdoors (he brought hiking clothes to his Regis job interview) and considers himself a philosophy nerd (he’s a scholar of German philosopher Immanuel Kant), Hall realizes the students in CCLS are some of the most unique and diverse at the University.
They can be adults, online learners, parents, recently returning to college, and much more. That’s what made the job so enticing.
“I’ve always been committed to post-traditional education,” said Hall, who was the associate dean of undergraduate studies at St. John’s University in New York prior to joining Regis University in January. “I get great joy from providing educational opportunities to those with such varying backgrounds. Whether it’s a single mother, a full-time worker, someone academically underprepared, or a student who has difficulty affording college.”
Hall sat down with Regis Today to discuss his vision for the college, how he found Regis and how he’s introducing philosophy to the masses.
How did you learn about Regis?
I grew up in Longmont. I had friends that had been out of high school a couple of years. They were in the workforce or had kids. I first heard of Regis as a place where you could go get an education and have an opportunity even if your life prevented you from having a traditional college experience.
What are your plans for CCLS?
We can appeal to post-traditional students by clearly connecting three things in their minds: the University’s mission, liberal arts programming and the vocational application of the liberal arts. The vocational application has to be baked into the liberal arts curriculum, whether it’s internships, applied projects or problem-based learning. Post-traditional students need to see how what they are learning will help them personally and professionally. Although a traditional liberal arts college will always be the best option for some students, our college is for those who crave a liberal arts education but for whom a traditional liberal arts college is not an option.
You have an interesting book coming out. Tell us about it?
It’s called “An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse: How to Keep Your Brain without Losing Your Heart.” It’s a mixture of graphic art, short stories and philosophical prose written from the fictional perspective of someone struggling to survive a zombie pandemic while still maintaining their moral compass. The zombies are really just a vehicle to get a broader audience thinking about ethical theories and their applications. The philosophy becomes more relatable to students. It’s like the philosophical questions on the television show “The Good Place.” When you get people to think about these philosophical questions in mainstream terms, they can start to understand the stuff philosophers have been questioning and discussing for hundreds of years.