The banners have been hung, the former “big dig” on the front campus hillside is greenish with budding blades of grass, residence halls are shiny and bright, and Hunt Dining Hall is open for business. It is officially the start of a new academic year, marked by another anticipated back-to-school event: the annual opening meeting for faculty and staff and President Pamela Fox’s state of the college address.
Issuing a call to “converge on academic excellence,” President Fox opened the gathering with encouraging statistics from the previous year and information about the already successful freshman class. “This begins the third year of implementation toward realizing the vision ofComposing Our Future: Mary Baldwin University 2014,” Dr. Fox said to recap the college’s progress. “The plan lives in our vocabularies, guides our unified work, assesses or progress, inspires generous support, and is proving to be on the leading edge of higher education through its emphasis on transforming education for a positive change in the world. Our vision of national recognition is advancing.”
“I believe that at Mary Baldwin University, academic excellence is collective,” Fox continued, explaining how the phrase is carried out in each discipline and department. “Academic excellence at Mary Baldwin is also inclusive,” she added, referencing the campus’ increasing diversity and broadening offerings in terms of courses and activities.
Fox talked at length about one topic that continues to dominate Mary Baldwin’s consciousness: the Quality Enhancement Plan. Although details about specific strategies were not yet offered, the plan, focusing on civic engagement for global learning is slated to be presented to faculty in early September. The speech also addressed the college’s goal of enrolling what Fox terms “high ability students” — including Honors Scholars and students in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted as well as students who have proven themselves in previous arenas and will enter the Residential College for Women and other Mary Baldwin programs.
The plan for physical transformation of the college —Transforming Our Environment— moving toward a comprehensive capital campaign, and outreach to alumnae/i were also emphasized in connection to the year’s goals.
“We want to converge on academic excellence with clarity and focus: enroll strong students; offer excellent, distinctive programs; build internal capacity; innovate with purpose; attract investment in our future; and celebrate and engage our alumnae/i.
Adult and Graduate students are gearing up for study on campus and in the college’s five regional centers. In the Residential College for Women, student leaders and athletes have already returned to campus. We await the arrival of the rest of the students and the beginning of classes. President Fox delivered her remarks August 23, even as new PEG students and participants in the Ida B. Wells program were moving in. By the end of the day on August 24, over 300 freshmen and transfers will have arrived on campus. RCW upperclasswomen arrive August 26 and 27, and classes begin August 28. There’s no time to waste!
View more campus projects pictures from the summer:
Front image: One of more than 50 colorful new banners that dot the campus landscape.
Image one: Dramatic improvements are evident at the street entrance to Coalter Street House.
Image two: Faculty and staff gather after hearing Dr. Fox’s remarks to catch up on summer projects and welcome the new school year.
Image three: Students will find cozy resting and studying nooks like this one, in the newly renovated ground floor of Spencer Residence Hall, in many areas on campus.