We have given ourselves the opportunity to make Hampshire work under unexpected conditions, and, with continuing vigilance and creativity, we will continue this success
Dear students, staff, and faculty,
As we pass the middle of the fall semester, we should recognize both how much effort was required to make it possible for our community to gather (mostly) in person, and how impressively Hampshire has risen to the challenge of keeping one another safe. It was never certain that we would be able to make this happen — dedication, ingenuity, and care for fellow humans made it possible. This semester may not be the one any of us would have chosen, absent a pandemic. But we have given ourselves the opportunity to make Hampshire work under unexpected conditions, and, with continuing vigilance and creativity, we will continue this success. Thank you to everyone for making this fall viable.
Last fall our community gathered to invent, again, the future of higher education, to take the risk to design a Hampshire College that once more defines how colleges should respond to the present era. We inspired one another to think without boundaries, as staff, faculty, students, and alums created together. That work culminated almost exactly one year ago, as a consensus vision emerged: building on the existing strengths, we would develop a radically transdisciplinary framework to explore the personal, local, and global challenges of the twenty-first century through an evolving set of challenge areas responsive to the changing world. We will revitalize the promise of the liberal arts that only an integration of the arts, humanities, natural, and social sciences can tackle the existential issues facing our world. Hampshire College alone has the courage to make that promise a reality.
We have been working thoughtfully, strategically, and intensively ever since to make this vision real. Our progress, across the College, has been significant. Animated by our experimenting mission, we will continue to build, to invent, to imagine, and to take chances. I am confident that, together, we are creating a student experience that will both revolutionize the liberal arts and attract outstanding students.
Underpinning our approach is a clearly articulated set of metrics that will allow Hampshire to survive and thrive into our next half century:
This fiscal year we have three ambitious goals we are hoping to achieve to maintain progress:
Some concrete markers of our significant progress on this shared project include:
We’ve done all this while enrolling 524 students and welcoming nearly 425 of them back to campus, protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff through our commitment to the Community Care Agreement, and innovating our classrooms and programming.
We need to continue academic planning, including clarifying the key questions, problems, and/or challenges that each learning collaborative will focus on for 2021-2022. We must maintain an emphasis on our anti-racist commitments, both as essential elements of our curriculum and reforming our institutional culture, policies, and practices. Finally, we need to plan for a robust spring semester, ensuring that the students attending Hampshire have the best possible access to the benefits of a residential education given the challenge of the pandemic, including developing compelling student life programs and activities and providing clarity about what portion of our courses will occur in person.
This work is challenging, exhilarating, and, for me, deeply rewarding. I believe that Hampshire College is the most important institution in American higher education. We endeavor to show the best of what the liberal arts has to offer, while shedding the unnecessary constraints placed upon undergraduate education by the industry.