Dear Scripps College Community Members,
At the beginning of each academic year, we have an opportunity to recommit to building a thriving community of scholars who contribute to society through lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity. On campus, we do this through our orientation programming, our opening events, and in our greetings to one another after a summer that we hope brought fun, relaxation, and new experiences for all. This past week, the hatred, racism, and violence perpetuated by white supremacists in Charlottesville has left many of us not only horrified, but also apprehensive about this attack on our nation’s ideals and its implications for the future.
Institutions of higher education like Scripps exist to elevate the human condition and spirit through knowledge, inquiry, and discourse. Prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry have no place on campuses or in our society. At Scripps College, we respect the dignity of all members of our community and strive to create a culture and climate that fully supports learning, intellectual engagement, mutual respect, and warm friendships. Adherence to these values is crucial to our stance against hate and our love for humanity. This academic year, we will advance this commitment and build on the work of prior years by focusing on community resilience, equity and access, and the future direction of Scripps.
Last spring, the Scripps community engaged in a rigorous examination of the student experience, and this summer we planned a number of initiatives to enhance residential life, strengthen community, and promote student health and wellness. Over the summer, Charlotte Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, led a comprehensive effort to evaluate, enhance, and expand programming related to mental health, cyber safety, residential life, first-year programming, and alcohol policies. Once classes resume, Dean Johnson will report on Student Affairs projects underway.
Recognizing that campus life is at the heart of the Scripps experience, our goal is to cultivate a sense of belonging and support for every student. As we implement and evaluate new programs, activities, and services, we will continue to seek student input to help determine what is working and where to make improvements. We are committed to creating a living and learning environment that ensures student success and deepens our connections to one another, and this will serve as the guiding principle for Student Affairs and Residential Life programming in the year ahead.
This fall, the Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) initiative will sponsor a series of Intergroup Dialogues (IGD) for faculty and students designed to develop understanding of social identities and statuses (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious identity, ability status, citizenship/immigration status, socio-economic background, etc.), foster empathy and motivation to bridge differences, and build personal and collective responsibility for social justice. Participants will also share their perspectives on diversity and campus climate issues. We will also hold workshops for staff to build a more inclusive community by engaging participants in reflection on identities and experiences, communication across difference, and individual, group, and system dynamics related to identity.
Equity and Access
Council on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
As we continue to monitor and document our progress toward creating the equity and access we envision for the Scripps community, we have recognized the need for more robust channels of communication and input from Scripps community members. To this end, I have established the Council on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (CIDE) to replace the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PACDI). CIDE’s charge will include proposing initiatives that will enhance public dialogue on gender identity, ethnicity, religion, race, diversity, and other topics critical to the future of the College and facilitating campus conversations on race, equity, and inclusion. I will also rely on CIDE to help the senior team and me by developing recommendations for improving College policies and practices that have an impact on equity and access. CIDE will include faculty, staff, students, and an alumna.
Our ability to provide robust financial aid for students and families is a critical component of our efforts to expand access to Scripps College academic and co-curricular experiences. Last year, we were able to allocate an additional $500,000 to increase the financial aid budget. We will utilize the additional funds to increase the proportion of students receiving scholarships, reduce the number of students with loans, and cap the minimum student contribution. Additionally, work is underway to launch a redesigned financial aid website later in the semester that will make financial aid policies more transparent and understandable to students and families, while providing more resources to help navigate the application and renewal process. We hope to raise more funds toward scholarships so that we can provide better and more support to our students.
Later this fall, the Financial Aid Office will move to Balch Hall. The goal of this move is to make it easier for students to visit the office and obtain information and ensure regular communication between Financial Aid and the student deans, registrar, and Student Accounts.
Future of Scripps
Among the primary charges assigned to me by the Board of Trustees upon my appointment as president of Scripps was the creation and adoption of a new strategic plan for the College. Community input will be invaluable throughout the strategic planning process, and we have developed several opportunities for engagement and feedback during this first phase of thinking about Scripps’ evolution and future. Faculty and staff are invited to participate in one of two planning workshops over the next month. In addition, we will offer workshops for students and the Alumnae Leadership Council, as well as an online survey for the entire community later in the fall. Your ideas, observations, and perspectives are crucial to envisioning Scripps’s future, and I hope that you will participate thoughtfully and enthusiastically in this phase of engagement.
Please see the below newsletter for more College news and information. I look forward to the year and the growth and development our students will experience both in and outside the classroom. Again, I wish you great success this semester, and I look forward to our work together to build and sustain a stronger Scripps. Thank you for all of your contributions to our community.
Scripps College News and Events
Many faculty spent their summers immersed in scholarship, with projects ranging from writing novels, to harnessing the power of evolution to create new proteins, to creating a tapestry from photographs of Platt garden, to studying how the mind and brain work to initiate and sustain successful cooperation in a rapidly changing world. Core I will begin the second year of the “Histories of the Present: Community” theme, and faculty are designing new and continuing courses for the fall. Read more about faculty achievements and awards here.
Please join us in welcoming new students, faculty, staff, and trustees to the Scrippscommunity. First-year students and their families are scheduled to arrive next week, kicking off five days of orientation programming culminating on the first day of classes, August 29. Our first-year class comprises 329 students, making it the largest entering class in our history. They hail from all over the country and world and demonstrate a wide range of interests and an impressive and long list of accomplishments.
Because the incoming class is larger than we anticipated, 40 new students will live in the first-year residential community at the CGU Complex on Foothill Boulevard with two on-site Resident Advisors. In order to ensure their full immersion in the Scripps community, we have planned special programs and services to keep them connected to campus life. I know you will embrace all of our new students and families and make them feel at home in true Scripps fashion!
Scripps College continues to recruit accomplished and emerging teacher-scholars whose passion and expertise will enrich our academic programs. I’m pleased to announce the following new faculty members: Assistant Professor of Anthropology Gabriela Morales, Assistant Professor of English Leila Mansouri, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ethan Van Arnam.
New staff members joining us this fall include:
- Issa Babcock, line cook I, Dining Services
- Lauren Bartlett, program coordinator, Laspa Center
- Cory Brown, web programmer/analyst, Information Technology
- Christine Camacho, administrative assistant, Career Planning
- Adam Carter, user support and application specialist, Information Technology
- Tressi Chun, assistant director, Study Abroad and Global Education
- Casey Crosbie, senior advancement officer, Institutional Advancement
- Lauren Elmore, OVW grant project coordinator, EmPOWER Center
- Tanvir Hassan, web designer/developer, Marketing and Communications
- Paul Kalush, senior accountant, Treasurer
- Agustin Martinez Oidor, groundskeeper III, Grounds
- Priyanka Singh, assistant director, Admission
- Ashley Valdez, career counselor and employee engagement manager, Career Planning
- Rebecca Wilson, research associate, Assessment and Institutional Research
We are grateful they have chosen to bring their expertise and talents to Scripps.
We are also excited to welcome to the Board new trustees Libby Greig DeMeo ’95, Sneha Deo ’17, Joan Isaacs ’71, Christophe Jungels-Winkler, Carolyn Wu Kurtzig ’97, Dwan Reece ’85, and Mac and Michele-Anne Ebe Riley P’18.
Our facilities team was hard at work improving the campus this summer. Their projects included the rehabilitation of the Browning and Dorsey Halls to install air conditioning, improve accessibility and wireless infrastructure, and provide new paint, carpet, and LED light fixtures. Phase two of a three-phase boiler replacement project upgraded hot water and building heating boilers that serve Kimberly and Wilber Halls and the Edwards Humanities Building.
CMC has provided the College the results of its investigation of student involvement in the speaker protest last spring, including information regarding individuals identified as Scripps students. This information has been reviewed and will be processed according to Scripps policies, community values, and due process. In accordance with federal privacy laws and our own practices, the College will not release information about individual students.
Scripps College continues to earn high marks from college and university ranking organizations. We climbed to #16 in Forbes’ Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges ranking for 2017, up from #40 in 2016. In addition, Scripps moved to #8 from last year’s #14 spot on the national publication’s Top 25 Western Colleges list. The College also placed #43 in Forbes’ ranking of the country’s Top 50 Colleges.
Scripps was among the top 20 schools in the following categories according to The Princeton Review: #1 for Best College Dorms, #5 for Most Liberal Students, #8 for Best Quality of Life, #12 for Most Beautiful Campus, #14 for Best Classroom Experience, #15 for Best Career Services, #15 for Election? What Election?, #16 for Best Campus Food, and #21 for Best Schools for Internships. Kudos to the Scripps community for creating such a distinctive higher education experience!
The Scripps Presents public events series’ fall season will feature presenters and performers whose thought-provoking works on politics, identity, and activism will explore defining issues for the campus community and society at large. Under the theme, “The World at Our Doorsteps: Immigration and Deportation in Los Angeles,” the Humanities Institute will apply the lenses of sociology, civil rights, culture, activism, and art to study immigration in our region. IDEA will continue to program ConverActions, campus events designed to engage the Scripps community in further discussion of the topics raised at these events and to raise awareness of and sensitivity to topics of equity and access.
The entire community is invited to attend Academic Convocation on Tuesday, August 29, at 11 a.m. to celebrate faculty and student scholarship and kick off the first day of classes. Bruce Coats, Professor of Art History and Suzanne Ely Muchnic ’62 and Paul D. Muchnic Endowed Chair, will deliver the keynote address, “Exploring Options in Research and Teaching.”
Stay up-to-date on Scripps College news and events by visiting www.scrippscollege.edu.