Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff and students,

varlottaAs I sit down to write the last note of the semester, I cannot help but think of the peace and joy that people of many faiths and cultures strive to find, model and share during this time of the year. As we go about our lives during this particular holiday season—one marked by troubling events in places near and far—I hope all of us will continue to embody the values that set Hiram College apart from other institutions. In terms of inclusivity, diversity and civility, I believe that Hiram is a place where rhetoric meets reality. Ultimately, we may not agree with our friend, our colleague or our classmate on the issues unfolding in Ferguson, Staten Island and our neighboring city to the north, but for all who call Hiram “home,” I hope we seek to listen to, learn from and respect those who have first-hand experiences and personal opinions different than our own. At Hiram, the “seeking” is as important as the “finding.”

Speaking of seeking, I am proud to say that I am in the midst of receiving and reading the faculty work group reports that delineate recommendations and feedback as they pertain to academic, admissions and marketing operations and tactics. As I had hoped, the reports are illuminating and pragmatic. They will help the Cabinet and other appropriate groups as we move forward in decision-making processes. Soon, I expect to gather similar feedback from the staff who are being called together under the leadership of our new staff chairperson, Dee West.

As I review reports like these and activities related to them, I am thoroughly impressed by the strides we have made in structuring a genuine shared governance process. In three months, we have restructured constitutional committees, called for and received (useful) data-driven reports and held several all-campus meetings open to comments and questions. Student Senate has also been energetic and dedicated in their many discussions surrounding the Hiram initiatives, providing insight in to how these programs can enrich the student experience. These thoughtful conversations, during and outside of Senate’s scheduled meetings, show that change at Hiram will come from everyone in our community.

As I said on July 1, Hiram College can and will be well-positioned for the future. That positioning will be set by all of us. After all, we are the team that will make Hiram College even stronger than it is today. I have every confidence that in working together, we will see soon see and feel, in visible and palpable ways, our emerging successes.

The semester has been a busy one, and I hope that like me, you are sensing a satisfaction—maybe even a bit of peace and joy—that comes with the work that will ultimately benefit the entire Hiram community. Please accept my sincere thanks for all that you have done this semester. I wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Your president,