May 16, 2018
One of the most compelling themes of our strategic plan is the emphasis on experiential learning opportunities for our students. As we implement the strategic plan, we need to ensure that co-curricular opportunities are not merely additive to our students’ curricular pursuits; rather, the two should be integrated effectively in service of our students’ academic experience here at Smith. This has become clear in committee discussions this year, notably in the Committee on Mission and Priorities.
To that end, I have decided to pilot a new position titled Associate Dean for Integrative Learning, to be held by a current faculty member. The associate dean’s overall charge will be to support and coordinate the efforts of faculty and staff as they create opportunities for students to integrate knowledge and hands-on experiences. The responsibilities of the role will include:
- Studying and disseminating best practices for integrative learning, in collaboration with the directors of the Concentrations, the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design & Sustainability, the Jandon Center for Community Collaboration, the Lewis Global Studies Center, and the Summer Research Fellowship Program.
- Overseeing the Conway Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Design Thinking Initiative, and the Wurtele Center for Leadership. By creating synergies among the programming in these three units, the dean will help shape our conception of innovation and leadership in ways that resonate with the goals of a liberal arts education.
- Partnering with the Lazarus Career Development Center, the Faculty Director of Advising, Class Deans, and the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning to think systematically about how students craft a meaningful four-year educational experience that is greater the sum of its parts.
Given the position of this role at the nexus of the curriculum and co-curriculum, the associate dean will report jointly to the dean of the college and the provost and dean of the faculty. The position will be considered experimental and term-limited; after three years, the continued need for the role will be re-assessed.
I have asked Interim Provost Joe O’Rourke and Dean of the College Susan Etheredge to lead the search for the Associate Dean of Integrative Learning. You will hear more soon about the process for nominations and self-nominations.