President Roseman sent the following message to the campus community on April 22, 2014:
To the Campus Community,
As I near the end of my first academic year as president of Dickinson, I want to take a moment to highlight a few of the meaningful initiatives we have undertaken.
First, these initiatives would not have come to life without the invaluable support and advice of all the faculty, staff and students who have worked alongside me during these early months, and I thank each of you for our productive debates, discussions and conversations. I’ve spent these early months listening to your ambitions for this great institution and hearing your concerns. The honest dialogue in which we’ve engaged is healthy and crucial to our success as a community, and it is one of the things I value most about Dickinson.
Throughout the year I have been asked about my priorities for the college, including where I stand on Strategic Plan III (SP III). SP III chronicles the college’s impressive, decades-long progress while providing a roadmap for our future, taking into account significant external challenges Dickinson now faces due to national demographic shifts and economic uncertainty. SP III also directly acknowledges where we lag behind our peer institutions—in the areas of student life and alumni and parent engagement. We need to make significant changes in these areas, and that work has started.
Viewed broadly, SP III focuses on students—enrolling those whose interests and ambitions align with Dickinson, improving their experiences outside the classroom and educating them to be engaged alumni. That’s exactly where we should be focusing.
A residential liberal-arts experience allows students to live and interact with people from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints, ensuring an experience that is both rich and challenging. That experience is enhanced by a diverse student body, and I am pleased to tell you we are preparing to welcome one of the most diverse first-year classes in Dickinson history.
We need to take a new approach to student life, and in the months ahead we will work to create a new model that allows us to deepen our connections with students and to create robust support systems so that no students feel disconnected from our community. We make a compact with every student we admit, and we must do everything we can to keep them here and ensure their success.
We already have made some significant changes, including overhauling our orientation process and introducing a new First-Year Experience program that will engage upper-level students as mentors who will guide first-year students during the fall and spring semesters, helping them adjust to and make the most of college life. We also have reinstituted the Emerging Leaders Retreat program, a Dickinson-developed model that identifies first-year emerging leaders and works purposefully with those students to develop their skills.
In July, we will open the expansion to the Kline Athletic Center. This will not only provide vital additional fitness center space, a grab-and-go dining space and the courts to launch men’s and women’s varsity squash teams, but it will also give the campus a new hub for the kind of student interaction that lies at the heart of the residential liberal-arts experience.
There is no greater statement on the value of the Dickinson education than our alumni. Engaging our alumni and parents in new ways, and strengthening their ties to Dickinson, will be one of my major focuses. This fall, we will be launching a new initiative, called One Campus, One Community, which will provide parents and alumni with opportunities to engage in intellectually stimulating discussions with our students and faculty. We know that Dickinsonians are lifelong learners and that many of our alumni miss the academic opportunities of their college days. We’re going to bring a bit of Dickinson to them. Dickinson is fortunate to have talented and creative faculty and staff committed to providing our students with the tools and self-confidence to navigate their personal and professional lives in a world full of complexity and difference. We are an institution that is committed to interdisciplinarity, breaking down barriers and finding connections across disparate disciplines. It is this approach that will propel Dickinson forward and build on our momentum. Our mission is a critical one. Working together, we will continue to prepare future leaders to take on tomorrow’s challenges.
Nancy A. Roseman
President and Professor of Biology