Dear faculty, staff, and students,
I know that many of you are getting ready for a break from classes, tidying up loose ends before you head out for the week. For those who are leaving campus for Spring Break, I wish you well on your travels, be they near or far.
As this week draws to a close, I want to thank the many students and staff who made last week’s Intercultural Forum (IF) successful this year. I was on the road last weekend but was pleased to receive a number of wonderful texts and emails about both the dinner and the show. College and community members relish the fact that the IF show is one of several programs and traditions that demonstrates Hiram’s commitment to fostering inclusive excellence on our campus.
The IF students are not the only ones who have been hard at work these past few weeks. I am well aware that others of you have done impressive work of late, including the many students and faculty who have been presenting research papers and experimental findings throughout and well beyond the state of Ohio. It is very rewarding to see members of our community share their academic work on a regional and national stage, so congratulations to all of you. And speaking of research exposure, how impressive was it that our own Michelle Nario-Redmond, Ph.D. and her research were prominently mentioned in a recent Time Magazine article on politics and disability rights!
Hiram has been in the news in other ways as well. One of Northeast Ohio’s widely read business magazines, Crain’s Cleveland Business, featured the College’s redesign in its publication this week.
As most of you know, the redesign work has been unfolding for months now. Last semester, there was a campus-wide call for change and innovation proposals, and these proposals were due to Dean Muyskens earlier this week. Soon, the Dean and members of the Strategic Academic Team will be reviewing those proposals and drafting, in concert with other groups on campus, a set of recommendations that eventually will make its way to me and the Board of Trustees. To aid in the review and the “what about this idea” process, we are lucky to have enlisted the assistance of the RAND Corporation. Thanks to a generous gift from one of our Trustees, some of RAND’s top education consultants will guide us through next steps in the academic redesign process. I will be asking the leaders of our three shared governance structures on campus – the faculty, Staff Assembly, and Student Senate – to send me the names of those who may want to participate in the next steps.
Whether you spend Spring Break here on the hill and taking a few walks around campus, flying with the Garfield Scholars to Paris, packing your work gloves for the Habitat trip, putting your game face on for an athletic competition or student-athlete spring trip, or catching up on a little R&R, I hope you will engage in some of the reflection we emphasize in Hiram Connect and Tech and Trek. Spend some time thinking about how you can make the rest of this academic year a highly positive and productive one for yourself and those around you.
Lori E. Varlotta