Dear students, staff, and faculty,
What a week it has been! It is hard to believe it was just four days ago that we rolled out the latest innovation to mark the New Liberal Arts. For anyone who may have been at the Northwoods Field Station and off the grid for the last few days, the change is a new tuition model called Learn More, Earn More, Spend Less. If you haven’t checked it out, you can visit the new webpage that describes the program, or if you want to see all that it entails in 30 seconds, this video was made just for you.
Four days into the rollout, I am thrilled to say that students, parents, the public, and the press are all reacting very positively. Along with the entire Senior Cabinet, I have spent much of the week checking in with folks near and far, and we are getting good feedback. Students who attended the first Student Senate meeting of the year on Tuesday evening—we had a full house—posed great questions and exuded strong support for the new model. I appreciated serving as their first guest speaker of the year. The Eclectic Scholars class that I had the pleasure of leading last night—thanks to an invitation from Professor Gaffney—demonstrated similar support and enthusiasm. Students are not the only ones who seem excited, however; the model seems to have stirred the creative juices from faculty and staff who see countless new opportunities possible in this new model. I thank all of you for sharing interesting ideas during the lunchtime and happy hour programs set up to solicit feedback. Your ongoing input is important.
Speaking of input, we welcome all that we can get. Toward that end, I urge all students to log on to the Summer Courses at Hiram webpage to complete the survey about summer courses. That schedule of courses will not be finalized until we hear from you: What classes do you most want to take and what delivery mode (face to face, online, blended) do you find most appealing? We want offer a variety of classes including those that students are most excited to take as well as those that are critical to degree programs. Faculty, I invite you to work with your school directors to suggest the type of internships we should offer, coordinate, find, and fund.
With all the buzz on campus, you might be wondering what others are saying about the new model. Well, the answer is “a lot!” The model has generated considerable media attention. Crain’s Cleveland Businesspublished the first article on Monday morning at 9:30 am, and the Record Courier came out shortly thereafter with substantial coverage as well. The Akron Beacon Journal published a photo gallery that captured several of us in action. And, if all of that wasn’t cool enough, we were spotlighted nationally as well thanks to an article in Forbes and a blog published by the American Council on Education.
Earlier today, I appeared on WKYC’s Live at Lakeside, and tomorrow morning I’ll head over to the set of New Day Cleveland. I suspect we will have access to both clips once they air. Finally, a radio interview aired on WKSU public radio this morning.
But the new tuition model isn’t the only thing generating news out of Hiram. Just this week, the latest US News and World Report rankings were published. And boy, did we shine! Hiram was ranked #14 among Midwest Regional Colleges; #5 among Midwest Regional Colleges for social mobility, a ranking that measures graduation rates of Pell-awarded students; and #6 for Best Value, a category that looks at both academic quality and cost of education. Couple these rankings with those from the Washington Monthly and we looking stronger than ever in the rankings that many prospective students and their families are reading at this very moment.
The successes we are seeing now are the results of so many of our collective efforts. Let’s celebrate them together but not get too comfortable. Proud though we should be, we must continue to improve as a community of learners: one and all.