Undergraduate Academic Affairs

October 1, 2012

Welcome from the Dean Autumn 2012

Ed Taylor

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

What do students from Mossy Rock, Washington have in common with students from Beijing, China? What does a student from White Fish, Montana, share with a student from Redondo Beach, California?  Or the students from Alabama and Seattle—what do they share in common with the student from Uganda or Vietnam? What they share is that they are all entering the University of Washington as part of the 2012 incoming class. As part of the UW experience they will have opportunities to learn together, serve together, lead together, and simply talk to one another.

There are many ways of being a UW student, and many ways of getting to the UW. 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 and our community, and our world. We take seriously our role as steward of our undergraduates’ growth as learners, researchers, leaders, and members of our community.

In Undergraduate Academic Affairs, we offer a myriad of programs to support our students’ academic experiences. We connect students to each other and the University through our First Year Programs and UAA Advising. We help a diverse range of students achieve their full academic potential through our Academic Support Programs and University Honors Program, among many others. Programs like the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center and Undergraduate Research Program help our students explore opportunities for learning outside of the classroom, while the Center for Teaching and Learning and Classroom Support Services help spur innovation inside the classroom. These are but a few of our many successful programs; I encourage you explore the entire list.

A University of Washington undergraduate education is all about innovation and discovery—this is what makes us distinct. One new program we are launching in 2012 is a new set of freshman seminars taught by some of our most distinguished teachers. Students will take courses ranging from “What Is Philosophy?,” “Diversity Issues in Science,” and “How to Write a Novel in Only 30 Years,” to “Citizen Scientists: How Can Novices Aid Researchers & Save Lives?” and “Using Chemical Markers to Track Pathways of Environmental Contamination.”  These seminars will introduce students to the excitement of ideas and the richness of discovery and inquiry at UW.

This is an exciting time in both UW’s history and that of undergraduate education itself across North America. We are taking a new look at what constitutes basic knowledge and advanced research, and we are dedicated to increasing the opportunities for students to gain both wide-angled and narrowly-focused perspectives in a variety of fields. Innovations in personal and classroom technology certainly play an important—but by no means the only—role in enabling undergraduates to exercise greater personal choices and learn within and across disciplines, extend their creative and intellectual interests, engage in research, maximize their potential, and develop a global frame of mind.


Ed Taylor
Vice Provost & Dean