Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Welcome from the Dean August 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

There are many ways of being a UW student. A central aim of Undergraduate Academic Affairs is to orient University of Washington undergraduates, to engage them deeply in the University, to create a rich and multi-layered learning environment and to connect students to campus, our community, and our world. The ways in which we do that highlight themes of leadership, research, teaching, and community—fundamental elements to the UW undergraduate academic experience.

Undergraduates learning the qualities of civic leadership shared their work and service to our local and global communities at the 19th Annual Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership. Students from across campus presented their leadership projects ranging from helping kids learn to read to furthering environmental sustainability to creating a micro-lending program in Ghana and building roads in Bolivia.

At the 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, students shared their faculty-mentored projects and how being involved in research that advances our knowledge, illuminates our understanding of our world, and serves the common good deepened their classroom experiences.

A meaningful learning environment begins in the classroom with inspired teaching. Each year, we charge a committee to undertake the herculean task of selecting just a few distinguished teachers from the many excellent educators here. This year we brought past and present Distinguished Teaching Awardees together for our second Distinguished Teaching Award Showcase.

Students are motivated to take intellectual risks and extend themselves academically when they identify with a community. UAA’s Dream Project, Honors Program, and Robinson Center celebrated their community members’ entrance to the University and graduation from the University and honored the tradition of leaving the University a different person than they were when entering it. They leave more confident, more knowledgeable, ready to make a difference be it through Teach for America, inspiring their own children to excel, going on to medical school, or becoming an engineer.

Many of these same students joined thousands others in Husky Stadium at Commencement. Their friends, families, and loved ones smiling and waving from the stands, celebrating their accomplishments and cheering on their future success.

The ebb and flow of the University is perhaps most present at this time of year. While the spring is clearly a hub of activity, the summer is more subtly active. As the class of 2010 left the stadium, took their pictures, and moved on to family brunches or maybe open houses, we are beginning to welcome the newest members of our Husky family with summer orientation.

Over the summer, more than 5,000 freshmen and 2,000 transfer students will come to the UW from Seattle, Yakima, Oakland, CA, Beaverton, OR, and as far away as China. They will renew the Washington way of educating students through leadership, research, teaching, and community so they graduate with a sense of purpose, an understanding of the contributions they are poised to make, and their own ideas of what it means to be a global citizen in the 21st century.

Beginning with Freshman Convocation, I look forward to getting to know as many of these students as possible. When it is their time to graduate, I’ll be at Commencement, celebrating their accomplishments and cheering on their future success.

Sincerely,
Ed Taylor
Vice Provost & Dean