May is filled with countless moments that make Mount Holyoke distinctive, from the laurel parade and the singing of “Bread and Roses” at Mary Lyon’s grave to the baccalaureate ceremony in Abbey Chapel and the canoe sing on Lower Lake.
I treasure each of these traditions and value the lifelong bond created among those who share in these collective experiences. However, one of my favorite Mount Holyoke moments this month came during our meeting of the Board of Trustees. The chair of the board, Mary Graham Davis ’65, and I have sought to have as much interaction as possible between board members and members of Mount Holyoke’s faculty, staff, and student body. Thus, plenary sessions at the heart of the meetings included presentations by faculty members in computer science, physics, and biology, along with poster presentations by students, and a further session, orchestrated by the Instructional Technology staff, showcasing the use of technology to enhance courses in the humanities and social sciences.
These presentations demonstrated the exceptional dedication of our faculty and staff to providing a learning environment in which each and every student is challenged to excel. This level of dedication sets Mount Holyoke apart, as was highlighted recently when the College had more professors recognized by the Princeton Review for teaching excellence than any other institution in the country. The honor came as no surprise to those of us who have the privilege of seeing the faculty and teaching staff in action on a daily basis. They not only seamlessly integrate their own scholarship and creativity into teaching, but they also invite students to engage in collaborate research from the moment they step onto Mount Holyoke’s campus. The result is a relationship that extends beyond the classroom—a relationship that shapes the next generation of women leaders through active participation and service as mentors and role models.
The spring 2012 report of the College Planning Committee, “Save, Simplify, and Redirect,” outlines Mount Holyoke’s plans to further strengthen our significant accomplishments in teaching and staff excellence by enhancing advising through first-year seminars and creating an infrastructure to implement strategies for connecting curriculum and career. In the process, the College will promote experiential learning, increase funding for internships, and bolster partnerships with alumnae. I am extremely excited, for apart from the traditions that lead to an intergenerational sisterhood that spans the globe, the moments that mean the most to me are those like the ones contained in the board plenaries. Such occasions offer the opportunity to celebrate our entire community’s commitment to academic excellence as the unyielding foundation of Mount Holyoke’s mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world.
–President Pasquerella ’80