President’s Pen: Winter 2013
What an exciting time to be at Mount Holyoke, as we celebrate 175 years of educating women of influence! We take pride in Mount Holyoke’s historic role in higher education and reaffirm our commitment to providing access to educational excellence for women from around the world, to upholding the centrality of the liberal arts and sciences, and to fostering the next generation of women leaders. I consider these objectives to be interrelated, for at the core of a liberal education are the capabilities that empower individuals to thrive continually in a world of complexity, diversity, and change. The critical thinking and communication skills students acquire by taking courses in a broad range of disciplines are developed alongside a sense of social responsibility.
At Mount Holyoke, there is a seamless integration of the curricular and co-curricular. Our professors enliven their courses by taking advantage of the rich intellectual and cultural resources offered through the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, and the Weissman Center for Leadership, together with the exquisite collection in the Art Museum. Last year alone, students in eighty-two different courses from twenty-four distinct disciplines used the museum as the backdrop for deepening knowledge, inspiring creativity, and promoting innovation and leadership through art. By integrating the learning goals we have established for our students with the programming taking place in these venues, we encourage students to propose creative solutions to the challenges posed in the process of constructing a world that meets the demands of justice, equality, and sustainability. In aspiring to achieve our shared objectives, there are no better role models for our students than our 36,000 alumnae, who serve as extraordinary exemplars of Mount Holyoke’s mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world. You’ll find them celebrated throughout every issue of the Quarterly.
As an alumna, I have experienced firsthand the transformative power of a Mount Holyoke education—an education that has shaped both my life and my career. Today, however, the value of liberal education is being called into question as job prospects for college graduates remain uncertain amidst rising tuition costs and burgeoning loan burdens. Offering students the foundation for living a meaningful life is less on the minds of many parents than is providing the skills necessary for navigating the world of work in the twenty-first century. We are seeking to accomplish both with the implementation of a new emphasis on “curriculum to career” that has emerged from a two-year strategic planning process.
This initiative seeks to integrate experiential learning into the academic lives of all students by adapting and developing curricula and partnerships that create career pathways built upon the liberal arts core, by brokering student-alumnae connections to bridge curriculum to career, and by evaluating the College’s role in helping students find, afford, and make the most of internship opportunities.
Initiatives such as this are the most current mark of Mount Holyoke’s continuing commitment to innovation and excellence. When Mary Lyon established Mount Holyoke in 1837, she aspired to shape the world through women’s education and leadership. As we work together to ensure that our founder’s vision remains vital, I will be eager to share our progress with you and gain your insights. Thank you for your commitment to our community. I am truly grateful for all that you do for our alma mater.
—By President Lynn Pasquerella ’80
January 9, 2013