This year we’ve made great process towards achieving a number of our Strategic Vision goals, all of which will be met through both long-term projects and short-term initiatives. First, let me update you on the progress of two long-term projects that will have a major positive impact on the college: the revision of the core curriculum and planning for a new teaching and learning building.
This academic year, the Strategic Vision Curriculum Committee, a body of 10 faculty members, made exciting recommendations about revisions to the core curriculum that will provide our students with greater opportunities for interdisciplinary learning, foreign language study, and to grow in scholarship, leadership and the development of the “whole person.” We have also added a new interdisciplinary lab in the third semester of the core, in addition to a physics and chemistry lab in the first year, to give students a choice between labs that will interface between disciplines.
In addition to revising the core, we have embarked on a journey to build a much-needed new teaching and learning building at the site of Thomas-Garrett Hall. This new building will be considerably larger than our current building, creatively designed to meet modern pedagogical demands, and flexible enough to encourage students, faculty and staff to interact with each other in its public spaces, classrooms and offices. We are now in the process of updating our campus master plan will and complete a functional program to identify the specifics of what is needed in the new building.
In regard to shorter-term initiatives, we are in the process of expanding our global experiential learning opportunities by developing two new Global Clinic projects, one potentially in Iceland related to geothermal energy and one in Asia. This effort is supported by FATTOC, the company co-founded by Trustee John Benediktsson ’01 and his business partner David Solomon.
It also has been a banner year for the President’s Scholars Program, a program that speaks to the goal of supporting unsurpassed excellence and diversity. This comprehensive scholarship program attracts some of the nation’s most accomplished young scholars who are from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields, including women, minorities and those who are the first in their families to attend college. In fall of 2008, we welcomed 11 new scholars—our largest class to date—and there are now a total of 30 President’s Scholars at HMC.
Finally, the community was sad to see the departure of long-time Dean of Students Jean Noda, who left to take the position of Senior Program Officer for the Medical Scholars and Medical Fellows Programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Washington DC. While Dean Noda will be greatly missed, we have embraced the opportunity to find an amazing new dean who brings fresh ideas for making the HMC experience even better for our students.
I am thrilled to announce that the college has selected a new vice president and dean of student affairs, Marguerite A. Browning, master of Wilson College and associate professor of linguistics at Princeton University. She will begin at HMC July 1 in time to prepare for the 2009-10 school year. Maggie will work hard to ensure that all students at HMC are nurtured and assisted in developing all of their interests—academic, artistic, spiritual, athletic and otherwise.
Driven by the college’s mission, we are working everyday to achieve our ambitious goals of making Harvey Mudd College the best it can be. Check back regularly for further updates on our progress.