Start anywhere

Editor tests the microphone for the virtual Welcome Ceremony and Opening Convocation at the start of the semester. (Photo by Keith Nordstrom)

Beginnings are important as well as character-building. They inspire us to step away from familiar places and focus on expanding our terrain. They often involve risk, challenges to established practices, faith in our abilities to problem-solve and accomplish the desired goal while demonstrating courage to commit to the actionable follow-through.

All of this comes to mind when I consider the stories in this issue of the magazine.

Students are successfully maneuvering and moving forward with internships in new remote environments due to pandemic safety protocols. Alumni are starting initiatives that contribute to solving problems posed by the global health crisis as well as racial injustice. The entire Wheaton campus is engaged in new—as well as newly intensified—work around creating an anti-racist campus and society.

Our cover story focuses on the new Compass curriculum that so many faculty members—as well as staff members and students—have spent more than a year carefully imagining, proposing, planning, discussing and finally voting into reality. That work already has received external validation from a $200,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation.

Compass started during the fall 2020 semester with the incoming Class of 2024 and provides myriad opportunities for students to personalize and help design the road map of their journey through the next four years at Wheaton.

The pandemic has made many of us feel that we aren’t going anywhere fast. In fact, in some ways for a while, it has seemed like we were losing ground.

We hope the beginnings and innovations shared in the stories in this issue will serve as a strong reminder that each of us is still in the driver’s seat when it comes to our power to choose how we spend our time, where we place value and what we want to make happen in life.

May you have a safe and healthy 2021 full of beginnings.