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Let’s take a quick view from our administrative perch to survey the major items for the upcoming year.

Senior Work Requirement: Last May, the faculty voted to make senior work—thesis, creative project, or special seminar paper—a requirement for all graduates. This requirement will go into effect with the class of 2013, and Dean of the Faculty, Susan Campbell, will be working with the Educational Affairs Committee (faculty elected to make recommendations about hiring decisions, major curricular initiatives, and teaching resources) and department chairs to implement this decision.

Honor Code Review: Associate Dean of the College, Karen Guttentag, is chairing a review of the code, which came under fire last spring when several faculty members expressed concern about the amount of cheating that takes place on exams and suggested that we move to proctored exams.

Sophomore Year Program: As part of planning for the 4/2 Commons system, Associate Dean of the College, Katy Abbott, has been working with the Commons Heads to organize a series of conversations aimed specifically at sophomores.  A kickoff event is planned for later this month, with subsequent events to follow.   Katy will return to One Dean’s View in coming weeks to describe the program.

Alcohol: President Liebowitz discussed this issue at his baccalaureate speech last May, and he touched on it in his Convocation address to first years this past weekend. Two weeks ago, he and I went up to Bread Load and held a candid conversation with res life staff, deans, and Commons Heads about how best to address the damaging effects of irresponsible drinking in student life. Look for Gus Jordan to mobilize Dean of the College staff and students around this issue throughout the year.  As President Liebowitz has noted, the primary concern is not only that some students drink to extremes, it’s also that friends need to take better care of one another to avoid dangerous situations and uphold community standards.

Creativity Projects: You’ve heard about 51 Main and Old Stone Mill. Now we’re trying to go for a trifecta by converting a house on Adirondack View into studio space for pottery and painting, activities too messy to be included in the Old Stone Mill.  Stay tuned for details.

The Election: It shouldn’t be difficult in this election season to pay attention to events beyond campus, but if you need a nudge, take a look at Professor Matt Dickinson‘s blog. During the past eight months, building on interest in his Political Science class on the American presidency, Matt has been sending emails to more than two hundred people—students, parents, alums, and friends—that include commentary and analysis of the unfolding campaign. Finally, someone convinced him to start a blog, and you can read it here, at Presidential Power.

That’s plenty for now.  As always, comments are welcome.

One Response to “Key Issues for the Year”

  1. Ben says:

    Tim, I wrote two theses for two departments. One department suggested suitable topics, counseled me during my research, and carefully reviewed my final product. The other department chose for me an inappropriate topic, futily attempted to advise me, then delivered not a comment on my thesis. Years after graduation, I still feel bitter; I poured my young soul into a document that my professors never read. Faculty who demand senior work must be prepared to offer the extra resources and patience it requires.

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