Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

varlottaThis has been a very productive two weeks, filled with meetings and conversations about two of the things that most excite me: innovative teaching and integrative learning.

 I am very pleased that we were able to dedicate time in the College Assembly engaging members of the whole community about Hiram Connect. A similar conversation has been unfolding for two weeks in the College Executive Steering Committee, and two full meetings of Academic Program Committee have been dedicated to the same topic.

 At this point in time, we have a draft proposal of Hiram Connect that is making its way to all faculty and staff. As I understand it, both the faculty of the whole and the staff assembly will discuss the proposal during their upcoming meetings. I will also be sharing a copy with Student Senate leaders so that they are included in these important discussions.

 With each group’s comments and suggestions, we are able to improve the formulation of the concept and chart clearer steps toward possible implementation. Our collective effort on Hiram Connect is an example of  “shared governance at work,” and I must say, I am thrilled to see, hear, and feel the level of participation that is occurring on campus.

 In addition to stimulating the on-campus dialogue about Hiram Connect and other academic initiatives, I have been able to spread word of such initiatives at the recent off-campus gatherings I have attended. Last week, I spoke to the Kent Rotary Club about Hiram Connect and its goal of integrating experiential and classroom learning through structured reflection. Many of the business leaders there supported this idea and echoed what most of us know all too well: the integration of thinking, learning, and doing not only fuels academic success, but lifelong learning and personal and career development, too. They applauded our efforts.

This week, I am on the road talking with alumni outside the state of Ohio, and they also are excited by what they are hearing. Many alumni have told me that they are pleased that academic topics like this one are taking center stage at key meetings and assemblies. I couldn’t agree more.

 The spirited conversations and the interest in making suggestions to improve the emerging concept of Hiram Connect are downright exciting. Stay engaged as we continue to bring the idea to life in ways that are shaped by so many of you reading this note. Thanks for getting and staying involved.

Your president,

Lori Varlotta