The Inauguration on October 4th was a wonderful display of qualities that make Lafayette special. The College’s ambition for itself and willingness to think about the challenges facing higher education was a prominent theme. Our students’ talents and energy were evident in the lovely music by the College Choir and Concert Band, the friendly demeanor of student delegates and ambassadors, and the infectious enthusiasm of the floormates whose video won the contest, “What Makes Lafayette . . . Lafayette?”
Most remarkable, however, was the palpable sense of community, which I believe will be critical for Lafayette in the years ahead. As I noted in my inaugural address, much conversation today is focused on the possibility that new technologies will reshape higher education into a more fragmented and customized experience. It will be important to engage the opportunity these technologies offer for us to think creatively about our teaching and curriculum. For that reason, I have appointed a task force of faculty and staff to explore Curricular Innovation and Technology. It will be equally important to reinforce what distinguishes Lafayette from large universities, commuter campuses, and online courses: the immersive, 24/7 education provided through a residential community in which learning takes place inside and outside the classroom. This will be the focus of a task force on the Integrated Student Experience. Finally, the need to look carefully at our business model and ensure that we are optimizing the fit between our students and our resources will bring together a group considering Enrollment Size and Program Capacity.
“Task forces will explore Curricular Innovation and Technology, the Integrated Student Experience, and Enrollment Size and Program Capacity”
The work of the task forces will supplement the thinking that went into the College’s 2007 Strategic Plan. Some of these issues will also be engaged by the Board of Trustees this spring. By the end of this year, I hope that we will be in a good position to articulate a coherent vision that integrates the important goals of that plan with an awareness of how Lafayette expects to confront the challenges and opportunities that have emerged since 2007.
I will cherish the memory of the Inauguration, and I look forward to the road ahead. Thank you for your support.