2018 Fall Welcome from the President

The new academic year has arrived, and the campus is coming alive, with preparations for new student orientation programs and events in full swing and students, faculty, and staff returning from summer activities or scholarship. At this time of year, I’m reminded of the considerable opportunity we have at Scripps to continue to build a thriving community of scholars who contribute to society through lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.

With this in mind, I’m excited to share the following highlights of recent College news and events:

Campus News

New Community Members

Please join me in welcoming new students, faculty, staff, and trustees to the Scripps community. First-year and transfer students and their families will arrive on campus beginning August 29. Incoming students will experience a reimagined orientation experience designed to strengthen our living and learning environment, ensure student success, and deepen our connections to each another. I am grateful for the extensive preparations that Scripps staff and faculty have been making to warmly welcome these students and families.

Scripps continues to recruit highly qualified faculty who enrich the educational experience for our students, as well as staff who contribute their expertise to help build a more vibrant community, and new trustees who will continue to be ambassadors and stewards of our institution. We value their ideas, energy, and knowledge, and we are glad they’ve chosen to work at Scripps. Please see a complete list of new community members online.

I look forward to connecting with our new students and families, faculty, staff, and trustees this year.

Programs and Initiatives 

This academic year we are launching three initiatives funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish new courses, support undergraduate mentored research, and expand external partnerships. A New President’s Grant is funding the pilot program IMPaCT (Impacting, Partnering, and Changing Together), designed to foster community among incoming students and connect them with social impact initiatives in the Los Angeles region. Forty-eight incoming students will be participating in IMPaCT, working with the nonprofit organizations artworxLA, Heal the Bay, Huerta del Valle, and LA Makerspace. We are eager to contribute to the quality of life for Southern California residents and to provide students an opportunity to forge relationships with one another while doing meaningful work.

The new Interdisciplinary Humanities Initiative will fund summer undergraduate research fellowships and professional development for faculty. It will also establish new interdisciplinary humanities clinic courses that will pair faculty and students with community organizations throughout greater Los Angeles to address complex community issues using a humanistic approach. This program will unfold over the 2018­­­-19 academic year, and I am very excited to see the creative ideas of our faculty get implemented.

Over the next five years, Scripps will participate in a Critical Justice Education (CJE) program led by Pitzer College. The CJE—in conjunction with The Claremont Colleges (5Cs), California Rehabilitation Center, California Institute for Women, and other nearby prisons and rehabilitation facilities—will expand its Inside-Out classes taught in those institutions, broaden opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, and create a 5C group of students who will integrate classroom learning with hands-on experiences.

NEW Hall Naming

The College’s 10th residence hall opened in fall 2016 and was aptly named NEW Hall. Although some may have considered “NEW” to refer to its newness, I can now reveal that it also refers to the initials of its namesake, Nan Elizabeth Walsh Schow. A women’s college graduate and grandmother of a recent Scripps alumna, Marissa Schow ’18, Mrs. Schow was inspired by Scripps’ commitment to the arts and humanities and captivated by the beauty of our campus. Schow Hall will continue to provide an unparalleled residential experience for generations of Scripps students, and we extend our deep gratitude to the Schow family for their generous and ongoing support of the College.

Summer Facilities Improvements

The facilities department worked throughout the summer on several campus projects, including renovation to Platt Boulevard to make 28 new parking spaces for Scripps students. The redesign includes landscape improvements that provide shade and beauty, wider pedestrian crossings, and materials that allow for water percolation and runoff. Several campus structures also received needed attention, such as Toll Hall, which now has air conditioning in all rooms, upgrades to the elevator and ADA accessible entryways, and interior improvements. Revelle House modifications include additional restrooms, accessibility enhancements, wireless Internet upgrades, and new interiors for its student residents. All residence halls have also been equipped with a new two-tier security access that reinforces the importance of campus safety for our students.

Community Engagement 

IDEA Initiative 

The Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) initiative will continue to sponsor events designed to facilitate community dialogue and deepen understanding of critical issues and their relevance both on and off campus. Programming will include ConverActions and community workshops and consultancies designed to foster individual and collective wholeness and resilience.

This September, the Committee on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (CIDE) will be seeking nominations and self-nominations for members of the 2018-19 committee. CIDE provides advice and recommendations to develop and support a campus-wide culture of inclusion; committee members serve for one year and represent a broad range of constituents, including faculty, staff, students, and alumnae.

Public Events

The fall season of Scripps Presents events was recently announced, and I encourage you to attend one—or all!—of the incredible event offerings, including talks by actor Abbi Jacobson of Broad City, Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe, and Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas.

Under the direction of Yuval Avner, associate professor of philosophy, the Humanities Institute will focus on the theme “Ignorance in the Age of Information,” bringing Radiolab’s Latif Nasser, philosopher Thi C. Nguyen, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, and WNYC’s podcaster Manoush Zomorodi of Note to Self and ZigZag fame to campus to explore “fake news” and “filter bubbles,” among other topics.

In addition, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery presents the exhibition Meditation on Material: John Mason’s Firebrick Installations through October 21, and the Clark Humanities Museum presents “The Human Form, in Clay, Wood, and Bronze” through October 3. The Friday Noon Concert series begins on September 14. The Department of Classics will host a reading and discussion with Emily Wilson, professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to translate The Odyssey into English, and the Department of German will co-present a discussion with author Charles Baxter and Claremont McKenna Professor James Morrison.

Future of Scripps

Board Committee Restructuring

The Board of Trustees will launch a new organizational structure this fall designed to enhance trustees’ focus on future-oriented strategies, enable more discussion and engagement, and maximize trustee contributions to the mission of the College. The new committees will focus on mission fulfillment, financial stewardship, risk management, trustee governance, and external relations and partnerships. The committee structure will operate as a pilot for the 2018-19 academic year, and trustees will monitor and assess the impact as part of their ongoing board optimization initiative. Adopting this new structure puts our Board among the leaders in higher education governance reform and embodies Scripps’ values of innovation, continuous improvement, and commitment to excellence.

Strategic Plan Update

Through the active involvement and participation of many faculty, students, and staff on the development of the new strategic plan this past year, four strategic themes have been advanced—Inclusive Student Success, Mission-Driven Outreach, Distinctive Identity, and Innovative Learning Organization. Several initiatives were proposed by the community for implementation over the next several years. Ten leading initiatives emerged, which will be brought to the Board of Trustees in October. Strategic planning will be an ongoing process, and there will continue to be opportunities for the community to make suggestions and have input.

For more College news and events, please visit our website.

Thank you for all of your contributions and dedication to our community as we work together to build and sustain a stronger Scripps. Incipit vita nova!