June 8, 2011
Message from Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor, Spring 2011
Dear Alumni and Friends of Undergraduate Academic Affairs,
While we continue to struggle with major economic challenges and continue to make the case for the importance and significance of our University, we maintain our commitment to our students.
Students who entered college in the fall of 2010, leaving home for the first time, are finishing their first year as University or Washington undergraduates. The very same students I met at orientation and convocation from high schools across the state, nation and world are now no longer in transition from high school to college. They are UW students and identify with the University as opposed to their high schools. It’s a significant moment. Friendships are formed, learning is happening, community is forming. Part of the joy of this work is seeing these students triumph from struggle. Over the course of the year, Undergraduate Academic Affairs has made some changes to continue to steward and be a voice for the UW undergraduate experience.
What are you doing now? How have your undergraduate experiences impacted your current work? Tell us about it by emailing UAAalum@uw.edu and we’ll include it in the Alumnotes section of this e-newsletter.
This year, Undergraduate Academic Affairs welcomed two new leaders: Nancy Hertzog began directing the Robinson Center for Young Scholars this fall, and Beth Kalikoff became the director of the newly formed Center for Teaching and Learning in which UAA’s Teaching Academy is housed.
Nancy Hertzog brings new and inspired vision for the Robinson Center. Perhaps some of you met Nancy last February at the Robinson Center’s open house. Since then, she has created an advisory board to further and enliven Nancy Robinson’s vision of attracting highly talented young people to the UW and then following them throughout their time here.
UW undergraduates are involved in many things but the common denominator in the undergraduate experience is learning in the classroom. To support undergraduates in the classroom, Beth Kalikoff has created a vision, space, and scholarly community for the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning to prioritize and support teaching as core to our three-part mission of teaching, research, and service.
Two Undergraduate Academic Affairs programs received outside endorsements of their good work: The Undergraduate Research Program’s Amgen Scholars Program 4-year, $1 million grant for the intensive summer research program was renewed. And, the Dream Project received a grant of nearly $1 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deepen, expand, and evaluate their work. These programs represent essential experiences for undergraduates: engagement in research and leadership.
Our most-recent graduates were the first to participate in the UW Common Book. In 2006, we launched this project to introduce students to the University’s academic community through a common text. This year represents two major firsts for the UW Common Book: It is the first time we’ve focused on a genre as opposed to a theme and it is the first time we’ve created our own book. For the 2010-11 academic year, freshmen received You Are Never Where You Are, a book of 15 poems selected by faculty, students, and staff to focus attention on language. Words, after all, matter. Reading and writing poetry takes imagination, persistence, and courage—qualities we hope to encourage among our students across disciplines and colleges.
This year’s Common Book project culminated on April 19, with the event “Poetry: From Pulitzer to Performance.” Philip Levine, Pulitzer Prize and two-time National Book Award winner, and Ken Arkind, National Slam Poetry champion, read and performed their work and took questions from the audience. It will be broadcast on UWTV in the coming weeks.
At this moment, we face the most substantial economic crisis of our time. It’s a time during which we are reminded of how vulnerable we are and how tied we are to world events. It’s a time when undergraduate education and the leadership and research experiences that take students beyond the classroom are of utmost importance.
At this moment, we rely on our alumni now more than ever. Just as the freshman class of 2010 has transitioned from high school to college, so you have transitioned from UW student to UW alum. As such, we call on you to be active advocates for the University, to renew your commitment to service, both local and global. We rely on your application of things you learned as a student, whether you are a flight nurse, school teacher, medical intern, community planner, or musician. We call on your leadership.
Vice Provost and Dean
Undergraduate Academic Affairs