So, this is the spring semester?
Posted on January 25, 2013
Welcome back to campus.
The “spring” semester may seem more like a wish than a reality right now, but that’s just part of the charm of college life in New England. Never fear: spring will arrive soon enough. The next 15 weeks will race by, the mercury will climb and the ice rink on Chapel Field will be replaced by blankets and frisbees all too soon.
As you hustle across the Dimple in search of warmth, I hope you feel—in addition to the icy wind—a sense of excitement for the next three-plus months: the thrill of exploring new ideas in your classes and labs, the clubs and activities in which you participate and the special events that are being planned by staff, faculty and your fellow students.
Your participation in campus life is critical. When you were admitted to Wheaton, whether it was last spring or three years ago, it was not only because you were academically qualified but also because of your ability to contribute to the vitality of campus life. In short, you are here to teach as well as to learn.
Your perspectives and insight will be particularly important this semester as we further the discussion of how to ensure that Wheaton is an inclusive, open and welcoming community. Several incidents last semester highlighted the fact that we have more work to do, if we are to realize the promise and power of our diverse community. More information about those discussions will be shared as the plans take shape.
Over the course of the semester, I also will be sponsoring a series of public lectures titled, Thought Leaders: An ongoing conversation on the future of the liberal arts. The speakers will be leaders in the field of higher education. My goal is to begin a discussion about Wheaton’s future, preserving what we value about our institution and positioning us for long-term success. I most definitely would appreciate student involvement, so please join in.
The first lecture will be on Monday evening, February 11th featuring President Rebecca Chopp of Swarthmore College. Others scheduled already include Jose Bowen, author of “Teaching Naked: Flipping the Classroom to Improve Teaching and Learning,” on March 22; a panel discussion featuring President Phil Glotzbach of Skidmore College on April 8; and Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, on April 8.
Many other interesting events are in the offing. For example, we are launching the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities, founded by professors Touba Ghadessi and Yuen-Gen Liang. The institute, which will sponsor events that explore the role of the liberal arts in the professions, differs from other such academic centers by focusing on students, rather than on faculty or business professionals.
I hope to see you on campus and at college events. Meanwhile, stay warm.