From the President
As August slipped away, steps began to quicken everywhere; syllabi choked the copy machines; orientations convened and last minute repair lists multiplied; summer’s lonely parking spots filled; and humid air cooled and crackled with that “something’s about to happen” buzz. And happen it did!
With help from our soccer team, talented dancers, “rabbit out of the hat” stage technicians, my eight-year old grandson and a FIFA World Cup soccer theme, the new academic year was off to a rousing start, replete with Brazilian music and
food and, I hope, a few words worth considering.
What about soccer rivets the attention of billions of people on the planet? What about soccer might rivet our energy and spirit as we embark on this year’s critical work? … a team-centered sport; respect but not adulation for raw talent, individual excellence, and the razor-sharp ability of world class performers; speed, flexibility and quick adjustment to rapidly changing circumstances; knowing where the ball is and where it’s headed.
As the year begins, I realize that everything is both the same and different, that it’s the best and most challenging of times, uncharted, yet firmly planted on the solid shoulders of our mission. I embrace St. Kate’s as home, as familiar and predictable, yet know it will change, evolve, surprise, even disrupt and still be home. I believe that something good lies ahead, perhaps better than we’ve dared imagine.
So what will compel our best energy? One goal centers on internationalization of our curriculum. This goal immediately draws us into the “plight” and potential of millions of girls and women worldwide because erasing “plight” and focusing on “potential” may be the world’s best hope for peace and justice.
A second challenge concerns mounting challenges to the very existence of women’s colleges, “Why do we need them,” some ask, with women now the majority in many higher education institutions? The plight and “trapped potential” of millions of girls and women worldwide may embody the strongest argument about the power and worth of women’s colleges, offering a compelling focus for St. Catherine’s internationalization work.
Innovation is another high profile focus.
There is no path to a vital, sustainable St. Kate’s that ignores the spirit and practice of innovation, which has defined St. Catherine for over a century. One absolutely central focus of innovation
is the faculty’s work to strengthen and reimagine curricula, especially the curriculum as a whole. Periodically, the faculty ask, “What skills, attitudes and understandings do we
want our graduates to have?” and then work to reverse engineer the curriculum to create the best possibility of desired outcomes to emerge.
Our specific work for this year? Full steam ahead on Year 2 of our strategic plan. More work on curricular and mission integration; and the first $32 million dollar phase of a larger campaign to build essential science and athletic facilities, and a revolving fund for academic program innovation.
We’re strong and getting stronger; good and getting better! Thanks for supporting us in work that is more important than ever. Thank you for making my imagination about what we can accomplish explode and expand.
President Andrea Lee, IHM