From the President

Whitman’s teacher-scholars deliver vibrant experience

George BridgesInvariably when I meet and casually speak with students and alumni about their education and experiences at Whitman, they name individual faculty members who shaped their learning and their lives. The challenging yet supportive and constructive influence of our faculty represents a defining element of Whitman’s legacy and reputation. Whereas other colleges and universities educate students primarily through instruction in classes, Whitman does so through collaborative relationships.

The relationships between faculty and students have been and always will be integral to a Whitman education even as the nature of teaching and learning is changing. Many Whitman faculty members now blend their classroom teaching with their own scholarly and creative work, involving students in every facet of research projects, productions, exhibits, conference presentations and publications.

There are many examples. The annual Global Studies Symposium puts students on the same stage as renowned academic experts to discuss and explore issues like the globalization of infectious disease or the historical, legal and ethical definitions of torture. The new National Science Foundation-funded scanning electron microscope (SEM) brings faculty and student scientists together to explore complex questions, whether they are magnifying volcanic rock, cells or the jaws of reptiles. Susan Pickett, Catharine Gould Chism endowed chair of music, expresses her joy at sharing credit with students with whom she has conducted research for published music editions. She says, “Seeing their expressions as they proudly hold a publication that bears their name as editor or having them go on to graduate school to put their own mark on the field is so rewarding.”

The relationships between faculty and students have been and always will be integral to a Whitman education even as the nature of teaching and learning is changing.

This blended and collaborative approach to teaching capitalizes on recent scientific knowledge about the human brain and the important role that active problem solving and discovery play in engaging students and enriching what they learn. In blurring the line that has historically separated the faculty’s teaching and scholarly work, we are generating inventive combinations of professorial roles that advance

Whitman’s pursuit of rigorous learning in the liberal arts and sciences while enabling the college to deliver an even more vibrant and valued educational experience.

Thank you for the many supportive roles you play in this endeavor. Your participation in alumni, parent and student events reinforces the bonds between the college and the people it serves. Your generous gifts strengthen Whitman’s financial foundation, enabling us to provide educational experiences of the highest quality. Finally, your loyal commitment to Whitman’s mission makes possible the work we do day in and day out, shaping the learning and lives of our students, individually and one at a time.

 

Most sincerely,

 

George S. Bridges