The semester is launched! We started the academic year with our college retreat at which we welcomed over twenty five dynamic new faculty and staff. Our discussions that day focused especially on three parts of our LEAP work: advising, critical thinking, and improving student writing. LEAP has given us a shared framework that has guided work in the classroom as well as assessment efforts, and we continue to make progress.
This fall we also look forward with eager anticipation to moving to our elegant new home: Laurentide Hall. Construction is on schedule, with the third, fourth, and fifth floors complete and the first and second floors almost finished. Furniture has been arriving, and the move will occur in waves on successive Fridays/Saturdays in October although two weeks behind schedule.
We have record enrollment and a record first year class, and our many adjustments over the summer opened sufficient seats for all incoming students. We are especially looking forward to working with the multicultural students, many of whom attended the multicultural reception two weeks ago, and particularly the students who participated in “Bio Bootcamp”. There was lots of positive energy in the Ballroom that day! Dean Mark McPhail reminded everyone of the Diversity Forum, coming up on September 27 and 28, with many nationally recognized speakers some of whom were directly involved in the civil rights activity of the 1960′s. And let’s not forget the Contemporary Lectures Series that begins on October 1st with Josh Fox, the documentary filmaker honored for his documentary Gasland that investigates the effects of hydraulic “fracking.”
And as we move forward, we also want to build on our past successes– acceptances in law school, employment secured, advancement to grad school, medical school, etc. We are especially proud of our undergraduate researchers, and our first (ever) recipient of the Barry Goldwater scholarship. May this year be even more exciting and productive! As the landscape of higher education re-defines itself with MOOCS, flexible degrees, hybrids, and on-line courses and programs, let’s hold onto our commitment to quality and the impact of faculty-student engagement. As Ovid wrote in the Metamorphoses, “Everything changes, nothing is lost.” As we clean out our offices in preparation for the move and look forward to the new year, we can willingly abandon the flotsam and jetsam, but hang onto the essentials.