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Dear Members of the Mount Holyoke Community,

Since the 1830s, when Mary Lyon traveled thousands of miles with her green velvet bag to raise funds for the founding of Mount Holyoke, the College has demonstrated its commitment to big ideas: to academic rigor and intellectual adventure, to access and student success, to this beautiful and inspiring place of learning, and to purposeful engagement in (and with) the world. Proud though we are f our bold nineteenth-century founder, and relevant though Mary Lyon’s innovative idea remains, Mount Holyoke stands, in all its architectural glory, for the here and now of a liberal education, for curiosity and exploration. The College’s openness to the wider world and its distinctive diversity is an invitation for us to be more inclusive and equitable still; and our history—her story and ours—a story of making and embracing change and shaping the future.

It is a story to be proud of, and one made possible by the support of generations of Mount Holyoke graduates, students, parents, faculty, and staff, as well that as of Foundations and our many friends. Mount Holyoke is and forever shall be because of the philanthropy that founded the College and sustains its mission; because of the performance of our investments, which now stand at $792 million, and because of careful stewardship of our resources. Now, in this new Campaign for Mount Holyoke, we look to you for support to grow our endowment and to support our vision for the future.

We know that Mount Holyoke improves the minds and lives of students the world over. We know that generations of graduates are “powered by Mount Holyoke.” We know that there is nothing quite like the Mount Holyoke experience or the network that sustains it.

We know, too, that the exceptional contributions of alumnae/i in every walk of life, every state [true?], and X countries, continue to add to our distinction and to extend our influence. The shared values, the affinities, the ambitions, and the accomplishments of our graduates shape an enviable network. You are the embodiment of a Mount Holyoke education and the experience that supports it.

Our strengths are legion: Talented and creative faculty who are scholar-teachers, invested in student learning and inclusive pedagogies; exceptional students who are engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and in unraveling its complexity; generous financial aid that removes barriers to the education we provide; opportunities for mentoring and research at every level; leading-edge career preparation and paid internship opportunities; and contemporary facilities on an historic campus. But even the best need to reinvent, reinvigorate, and reinvest.

This Campaign for Mount Holyoke—the largest in our history—is an expression of our confidence in the future, and in your partnership in realizing a vision for a new age. This vision, born of the serious inquiry and intellectual complexity that are the hallmarks of a Mount Holyoke education, renews our longstanding commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, reimagining them for the 21st century. This vision depends on people, on programs, and on place—this place, both restored and reinvented for the best in liberal learning—in ways that will strengthen Mount Holyoke for this decade and those that follow, as well as for future generations of ambitious and impassioned students.

This vision expresses four core convictions:

  • The impact of a Mount Holyoke education is greatest and has the farthest reach when we are able to attract the most talented students worldwide, remove financial barriers to their education and experience, and support their success at the College and in career preparation.
  • There is no substitute for the enduring legacy of a contemporary faculty—one committed to students and their learning, to existing and new disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship, and to innovative teaching.
  •  A 21st-century library is the nexus for such pursuits: conceptualized, concentrated, connected, and collaborative.
  • Environmental challenges are the greatest moral issues of our time. Mount Holyoke must act to reduce its carbon footprint—to be carbon neutral by 2037—and to educate future scientists, policy makers, and citizens. The future of our planet and our campus depends on us.

The world needs Mount Holyoke. Now more than ever. And this campaign prioritizes what the College needs to ensure its continued reach and distinction—both in terms of excellence and differentiation—as well as the vision that we have for this remarkable College.

Mary Lyon once said that there are two reasons to give: “it is right and it will do good.” In what follows, we hope you find compelling truth in her words, and yet more reasons to support Mount Holyoke in the ideas that comprise our vision for the future; a vision shaped by these convictions and the priorities they describe.

This future will be realized by our shared commitment to the enduring values of the College, by our shared aspirations and uncompromising ambitions, and, through your support, by the philanthropic success of the campaign.

Sonya Stephens

President

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Student Access and Success                            Page w

Providing opportunities to talented students from a variety of economic backgrounds is central to Mount Holyoke’s mission, and while many leading institutions make claims in this area, Mount Holyoke has been opening doors—in significant numbers—for students from historically marginalized populations for decades. Committed to providing academic opportunity, to equity and inclusion, and to recruiting the most talented students, the College must undertake new approaches to financial aid both to reduce or eliminate loan burdens on families of modest means and to enhance our abilities to market the College and increase retention. Building our endowment, and our capacity to provide financial assistance to deserving student scholars, is not just a core focus of our fundraising efforts, it is a moral imperative and our most important objective.

Providing access is just part of the equation. The College is committed to ensuring student academic and career success and is developing new tools towards this end, including a new Center for Academic Resources & Resilience, expanded internship opportunities, and enhanced sector-specific career exploration opportunities in fields such as business and finance.

A Faculty for the Future and a 21st Century Curriculum            Page x

Since 1837, Mount Holyoke’s academic mission and the excellence of its faculty have set the College apart. Mary Lyon’s founding ideal has become ever more inclusive over the past two centuries. In the same way, our curriculum is continually evolving, while the same spirit has prevailed: to harness the power of education to transform our students’ lives and the world. Unflagging support for our faculty and our academic program is essential to the continued success of the College.

The Library                                        Page y

Through its long and storied history, the Williston Memorial Library has been at the heart of Mount Holyoke’s academic mission. Always iconic, always one of the most beautiful libraries in the nation, the library has been a center of community and learning, a bridge spanning past, present, and future, as well as a key point of  intersection for students and faculty. Since its construction in 1905, it has adapted many times to changes in technology, pedagogy, and society. Its story is one of constancy and constant renewal. Now it is time to reimagine the library; to see it with fresh eyes, incorporating not only new technologies and new ways of learning, but new understandings of how libraries best serve academic communities. An extensive renovation of the library’s main spaces, from the entrance, atrium, the archives, and the learning commons to other specialized facilities, will renew and reinvent some of our most revered spaces, ensuring their vitality and relevance for the 21st Century. 

A Commitment to Sustainability                        Page z

How should an institution of higher learning respond to the greatest moral—and scientific—challenge of our time? Mount Holyoke is addressing this critical question head-on. First, we have committed our campus to carbon neutrality by 2037, our bicentennial. Second, we are using our breathtaking campus as a living laboratory to advance climate science and environmental learning. Third, we are equipping our students with the expertise they need to become effective advocates and leaders in the global battle against the climate crisis. And, finally, we are building broad coalitions with community partners to address the fundamental issues of energy efficiency and food insecurity. In each of these areas, we have identified funding opportunities to support initiatives and programs that will have both local and global impact.

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Student Access and Success

Providing opportunities to talented students from a variety of economic backgrounds is central to Mount Holyoke’s mission, and while many leading institutions make claims in this area, Mount Holyoke has been opening doors—in significant numbers—for students from historically marginalized populations for decades. Committed to providing academic opportunity, to equity and inclusion, and to recruiting the most talented students, the College must undertake new approaches to financial aid both to reduce or eliminate loan burdens on families of modest means and to enhance our abilities to market the College and increase retention. Building our endowment, and our capacity to provide financial assistance to deserving student scholars, is not just a core focus of our fundraising efforts, it is a moral imperative and our most important objective.

Providing access is just part of the equation. The College is committed to ensuring student academic and career success and is developing new tools towards this end, including a new Center for Academic Resources & Resilience, expanded internship opportunities, and enhanced sector-specific career exploration opportunities in fields such as business and finance.

Student Access and Financial Aid: Recruiting the Best and the Brightest

For over 180 years, Mount Holyoke has been educating women from across the globe in a distinctively diverse and inclusive setting, preparing them for traditional and non-traditional careers—including those from which women have historically been excluded—and graduating change-makers and leaders across the disciplines and into careers ranging from science and medicine to politics and the arts.

To maintain the global impact of our mission, the students we educate must reflect the diversity—including the socioeconomic diversity—of the nation’s, and the world’s, population. The ability to provide need-based aid is at the heart of our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and academic excellence.

In the most recent academic year (2018-2019), the College awarded over $53 million in grants and scholarships, 85% of it need-based. Over 75% of our students received financial aid, while the average aid package was just over $40,000. Every student with demonstrated need had that need fully met. At present, the College’s endowment covers only 25% of the cost of the scholarships we award each year. Like many of our peers, we depend on the generosity of our alumnae, families, and friends to help grow our endowment and to provide expendable grants to supplement our annual scholarship funds.

One of the distinguishing features of Mount Holyoke is the exceptional diversity of our undergraduates. Twenty-seven percent of our students are citizens of 78 countries outside the U.S., while 25% of our domestic students identify as African American, Asian American, Latina/o, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or multiracial. Financial aid is an important tool in building and maintaining our national, racial, and ethnic diversity.

Our socioeconomic diversity is exceptional too. Nineteen percent of our students—or 25% of our domestic students—are eligible for Pell grants, a federal program that primarily supports students whose annual family incomes are below $40,000.

Financial aid is critical to expanding access to a four-year liberal arts college for historically underrepresented groups, such as first-generation college students, transfers from community colleges, returning and adult learners, and students from economically marginalized populations—many of whom would or could not otherwise participate in higher education, and all of whom bring new and varied perspectives to the classroom and community. And grant aid for these groups is especially important—empirical evidence has shown that grant aid (as opposed to loans) lowers the threshold for participation in higher education, and the more non-loan aid a student receives, the longer they persist in their studies. In fact, our disproportionate reliance on loans is putting Mount Holyoke at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting. Financial aid helps, then, with both recruiting and retention, as we work to ensure that students who start at Mount Holyoke succeed and complete their educations here.

In the spirit of academic opportunity, equity, and inclusion, and in order to recruit the most talented students, Mount Holyoke must explore a range of new approaches to financial aid—both to reduce or eliminate the loan burdens on students from low-income and middle-class families and to increase our abilities to market the College and retain students. (In addition, we must look for other ways to reduce other often insurmountable financial burdens—including costs of books and health insurance—on our lowest income students.) Our average student indebtedness, at $26,000 per graduating student, is less than the national average. Our ability to reduce or eliminate this debt is an initiative that accords with our founding inspiration and is, in fact, a moral imperative: to open wide the doors of opportunity.

Expanding resources for financial aid is a comprehensive effort, spanning from gifts to the Mount Holyoke Fund Scholars Program to leadership support to build the endowment. Here are the prime areas of focus:

Building our endowment to support financial aid is key. With each additional xxx million raised for endowment targeted towards financial aid, we can …

We are also committed to reducing our overreliance on loans as part of our financial aid packages. Loan usage puts us at a competitive disadvantage in terms or recruiting and retention.

At the same time, we are committed to expanding our commitment to access to international students by developing targeted scholarships with the assistance of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.

We are exploring doubling the size of our already successful Posse program by establishing a Posse STEM cohort.

Helping outstanding students achieve a Mount Holyoke education is a core commitment for the College and will require enormous resources beyond what our endowment currently produces. It is critically important that we meet the financial need of our talented student population while continuing robustly to support instructional, academic, and programmatic needs, essential capital projects, and our distinguished faculty.

Student Success

Access is only half the battle.

Mount Holyoke is committed to giving our students the tools they need to succeed academically here and professionally after graduation. Numerous initiatives are in place, or in the works, to provide students resources to thrive in whatever field they choose

From enhanced academic support and expansion of our ground-breaking internship program to providing an expanding array of tools and connections to our students and supporting their exploration of fields such as business and finance, the College is moving at a rate that would impress even Mary Lyon, who once famously said of Mount Holyoke: “This institution is a great intellectual and moral machine and if you will jump in, you may ride very fast.”

Instituting a New Center for Academic Resources & Resilience 

Information needed

does this include SAW/Weissman? Further discussion required

Internships

Our universal internship program, launched as “The Lynk” in 2014, was among the first of its kind in liberal arts colleges and established a national trend. When the College launched its program to guarantee funding for internships and research experiences, we saw student interest in internships—whether funded by the College or not—grow appreciably. At the same time, our unique ability to integrate our academic program, internship experiences, and other efforts aimed at career preparation has created a superb program. With internships tied to positive outcomes, such as successful entry into the job market and increased retention numbers for our students, our goal is to double our current $18 million internship endowment to further enhance opportunities for students, and to continue the trail-blazing and life-changing success of this program.

Mount Holyoke’s guaranteed internship program enjoys a number of distinctions: our funding is more generous than at most other schools, giving students additional flexibility; our students’ internship and research experiences are intentionally integrated into their curricular pathways; and, our Lynk program is only one of the constellation of experiential learning efforts underway at Mount Holyoke. We help students to find paid internships, too. The McCulloch, Miller Worley, and Weissman Centers all facilitate area specific internships, as does the Program in Community-Based Learning. On and off-campus work study opportunities also add to the mix.

Internships are crucial to graduate success. Students who complete internships are more likely to be employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation than those who do not. Similarly, employer surveys show that a college graduate with internship experience is better prepared for the workforce. Our own published study, conducted by CDC staff and Eleanor Townsley, professor of sociology and director of the Nexus Curriculum to Career Program, finds that the best indicators of post-graduation success are undergraduate performance and the number of internships. Graduates with more internships in college had much higher odds of being employed at six months relative to those who never participated in an internship.

Lynk internship funding is a great door opener too. With a universal funding system, differences in financial status between students are diminished. This approach not only gives access to many students who may have been priced out of certain opportunities in the past, but there is some indication that participation in Lynk is bolstering student retention at Mount Holyoke. Central to the success of all of our internship efforts is the involvement of alumnae, who not only open doors, but often work with students as mentors, coaches, and guides. Internships represent one of the many areas where alumnae and students meet to forge bright futures together.

In just the first five years of universal funding, Mount Holyoke has spent over $7,500,000 to fund close to 2,200 student internships and research projects. This large-scale, visible commitment has far-reaching impacts. Since the launch of the Lynk Initiative, we’ve seen steady growth in the percentage of students completing one or more internships. In summer 2018, over 1,200 MHC students participated in work-based learning experiences and upon graduation, 86% of the class of 2019 had completed at least one internship or research project. This was the highest engagement in summer work-based learning in five years. Student summer experiences spanned a wide range of locations and industries, including 60 countries and 41 U.S. states. Seventy-five percent of summer experiences were employer-paid or funded by MHC. Seventy-one percent of all undergraduates and 81% of undergraduates packaged with work study gained experience through campus employment in 2018-2019.

But increasingly, one internship is not enough. More and more students are looking to second internships to expand their experience or explore new areas of interest. The College is examining ways to support this new trend.

At the same time, the College is exploring replicating its successful MHC Semester in D.C. program, a unique immersion experience in public service in our nation’s capital that includes classes and an intensive internship experience.

Career Preparation

Career preparation is central to the Mount Holyoke experience. Not only does our curriculum integrate classroom experience and scholarship with real-world insights gained from a variety of off-campus experiences, but the Career Development Center is also a leader in offering students the job search, networking, and skills-development opportunities they need to step resolutely into their post-graduation lives.

Every year, the College, through the Career Development Center, has been able to increase connections with employers and business representatives, including alumnae, in fields where our students hope to work, to expand training and support sessions for students considering or engaged in job searches, and to put new tools in place to allow students to navigate the first steps into new careers and opportunities.

The CDC has also put in place new efforts for students interested in business careers—efforts that build on successful programs in other fields, such as the law, medicine, and STEM. For the growing population of students interested in careers in business and finance, more is needed to support their aspirations and to complement their exceptional liberal learning with sector-specific preparation.

Ready for Business

An increasing percentage of Mount Holyoke students—nearly 40 percent—have expressed an interest in careers in business. The College, through curricular innovations and the efforts of the CDC, is working hard to provide both support and opportunity in this area.

Recent graduates continue to join their ranks at top companies worldwide in this highly competitive field. We are proud of these graduates’ achievements, and of the contributions made possible through deep engagement with a Mount Holyoke education. Experiences gained as students and connections made through the alumnae community contribute to success after graduation. Internship opportunities, access to business skill development trainings, campus recruiting efforts, and programs that introduce students to alumnae and employers in the field all play a role in supporting students pursuing careers in business and finance.

Of students who have indicated career interest to the CDC, 38% noted interest in business, including advertising and marketing, management consulting, financial services, and human resources. This interest translates into first jobs. Of the graduates from the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018 for whom we have outcomes data (78%), 9.1% worked in finance, insurance, or real estate, and 8.4% worked in business services, making finance and business among the top destinations for recent graduates.

While the past success of our graduates in these fields is self-evident, we know that more preparation would help to ensure that our students can compete to their full potential for post-graduate positions. This is a moment of opportunity, too, as the financial sector in particular is committing to diversifying its workforce in unprecedented ways.

To make Mount Holyoke College a major source of successful graduates in these fields, the College is looking to secure $3,000,000 in permanent endowment (approximately $150,000 in annual funding) to build out a robust pre-business/finance advising, preparation, and mentoring program.

Hiring a pre-business advisor to serve as an effective connection between students and employers and implementing a suite of interlocking pre-business skills-building and development programs would help this promising effort to take care of business in true Mount Holyoke fashion.

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A Faculty for the Future and a 21st Century Curriculum

Since 1837, Mount Holyoke’s academic mission and the excellence of its faculty have set the College apart. Mary Lyon’s founding ideal has become ever more inclusive over the past two centuries. In the same way, our curriculum is continually evolving, while the same spirit has prevailed: to harness the power of education to transform our students’ lives and the world. Unflagging support for our faculty and our academic program is essential to the continued success of the College.

Every campaign is built on the question, “What is the vision for the future?”

For Mount Holyoke’s academic program, the answer is that our College will become the single most important destination for women and students of diverse backgrounds and identities who are looking for a world-class academic experience—one that builds on nearly two centuries of preeminence and prepares students to meet their lives after graduation with imagination, courage, confidence, and integrity.

Mount Holyoke’s mission starts with a commitment to an intellectually adventurous education in the liberal arts and sciences through academic programs recognized internationally for their distinction and range. Driving this excellence are an innovative and rigorous curriculum, an impressive 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, deep academic resources, and a world-class faculty.

In fact, it would be impossible not to celebrate a faculty which comprises an assembly of award-winning scholars, scientists, researchers, and creative artists who are also dedicated and effective teachers committed to bringing the full, and life-changing, power of a Mount Holyoke education to every student.

Further powering our longstanding success in the sciences, the arts, and other fields is our faculty’s commitment to curricular innovation. This is visible everywhere: through development of programs like Nexus aimed at tying together curriculum and career; through the game- (and discipline-) changing opportunities forged by our three academic centers, the Art Museum, and the new Fimbel Maker and Innovation Lab; and through a commitment to hands-on, object-based learning.

We have established a number of priorities to support faculty excellence:

  • Establish new endowed chairs and professorships across the disciplines to give permanent recognition to leading members of our faculty, to attract and retain the best scholars and teacher, and to meet the needs of a 21st century curriculum in areas such as Computer Science, Data Science, Film/Media/Theater, and Environmental Studies, to name just a few.
  • The Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI) is Mount Holyoke’s signature program to maintain and enhance excellence in the classroom experience for faculty and students. TLI administers faculty seminars, provides one-on-one advising to faculty, facilitates curriculum development efforts, and builds collegiality and best practices in inclusive pedagogy. Endowing TLI is a high priority for Mount Holyoke.
  • Faculty development includes support for fellowships, sabbaticals, publication, innovative curriculum and course design, and participation in faculty seminars and workshops. We need to enhance our resources to allow our faculty the time and space to develop and thrive.
  • Faculty grants support dozens of faculty members each year with funds for research, travel, publishing, student assistants, and conference presentations. We need to increase the number of grants we can award to support growing demand, and the average amount of the awards to reflect the increasing costs of publishing, travel, etc. Start-up funds and materials acquisition funds are also part of the mix.

STEM Superiority

One telling illustration of our excellence is our deep-rooted institutional distinction in STEM. For decades, Mount Holyoke has been the leading producer of women graduates who go on to attain doctorates in the sciences. At the same time, we have amassed an impressive track record in preparing U.S. women of color who have gone on to receive doctorates in the life and physical sciences—an accomplishment no doubt enabled by the striking diversity of our science faculty. Today, thirty percent of our students are STEM majors.

And STEM fields are always evolving, requiring faculty research at the leading edge, new technologies, disciplines, and credentials that reflect an evolving understanding of fields including neuroscience, computer science, and data science. For this reason, adding resources to STEM fields is key:

  • Special programs in STEM, including computer science, physical sciences, and the Fimbel Maker and Innovation Lab, have helped draw more students into these fields and set them up for success. Additional resources will help us bring these programs together under one umbrella and provide all mentors with comprehensive and consistent training. Continued focus on student success in the sciences, where our faculty has drawn more NSF grant money since 2000 than their counterparts at any other leading liberal arts college, will ensure Mount Holyoke’s unquestioned preeminence in STEM.

 

Academic Distinctiveness

Our academic distinctiveness also derives from our perennial commitment to educational leadership as a women’s college that is gender-diverse, our focus on global excellence, and our uniquely diverse and talented students. It is no accident that the college that has led all colleges in producing women who have pursued doctoral degrees in the sciences over the last 50 years is also a leader in offering access to historically underrepresented domestic students as well as international students. At 28%, Mount Holyoke has a higher proportion of international students than any of our peer institutions. Twenty-six percent of the students we enroll are domestic students of color and 19% are Pell Grant-eligible. At Mount Holyoke, the classroom and social experience are uniquely global and multicultural.

This commitment to academic inclusion is part of Mount Holyoke’s makeup and has opened countless doors for generations of students, including students who historically have not enjoyed access to top liberal arts colleges—first generation students, non-traditional-aged students (Frances Perkins Scholars), transfers, and those from historically marginalized populations. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring that every student has access to the resources and opportunities essential for success. Numerous initiatives are in place, or in development, to provide students the resources they need to succeed in their chosen fields of study. Foremost among them:

  • The Center for Student Success and Resilience, including initiatives like our student-to-student mentoring programs and the innovative work being pursued by the Office of Student Success and Advising, bolsters academic achievement and retention. A well-resourced Center is a key element of the College’s plan to continue to enhance student access and success.

The impact of a Mount Holyoke education is visible everywhere. Mount Holyoke’s diverse alumnae are leaders in every sector—in business and finance, higher education, the arts, social justice, the sciences and many other fields. Their fierce loyalty to the College evinces the lasting effects of Mount Holyoke’s academic experience.

With the support of our alumnae, friends, and family, we will continue to make Mount Holyoke’s academic experience ever more compelling by carrying our vision and our proven practices forward. We are uniquely positioned to offer an education for the 21st century that responds to the needs of today’s students and to the pressing problems of our time, while remaining firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition. To this end, we have identified additional areas for continued investment in our faculty and academic program:

 

  • Entrepreneurship experiences offered through Nexus, one of Mount Holyoke’s signature curriculum-to-career programs, and other programs will benefit from funding for start-ups, pitch fests, and similar student-centered activities.

 

  • Mount Holyoke’s three academic centers enrich students’ academic experience and broaden their perspectives through programming, events, and curricular connections. Additional resources will help these centers continue to have a pivotal role in Mount Holyoke life. The Weissman Center for Leadership supports extraordinary students through programs such as Speaking, Arguing and Writing and Community-Based Learning. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives reflects and leverages the global diversity of our students, houses our study abroad program, places students in key hubs around the world, and hosts vital speakers and other guests. The Miller Worley Center for the Environment coordinates sustainability efforts at the College, offers programs in renewable energy, food justice, and the “campus living laboratory,” as well as hands-on experience in wetlands restoration on Upper Lake. 

Hands on learning and teaching with art

Mount Holyoke’s leadership in innovative, hands-on, experiential education depends on the evolution and refinement of a curriculum that opens new pathways for learning and promoting interdisciplinary exploration. The newly completed and expanded “makerspace,” the Fimbel Maker and Innovation Lab, is a sterling example of how practical problem-solving, creative thinking, and teamwork are becoming more central to curricular innovations. Current academic areas of distinction, including our Women in Tech and STEM and Art and Technology initiatives, must also continue to be supported and enhanced.

Along these lines, the Art Museum has become increasingly central to the academic mission of the College. Our Teaching with Art program has become an energized cross-roads of interdisciplinary colloquy, while faculty seminars organized by the Museum are sparking new synergies, insights, collaborations, and approaches. At the same time, there are other reasons for the Museum’s increasing pull on the campus and surrounding community. As the world goes increasingly digital and virtual, exploring the reality, the actuality, of the 24,000 objects in the Museum’s collection has taken on a new relevancy. The Museum has put together a plan to permanently endow two key positions in support of Teaching with Art—which are now paid for through expendable short-term funds—to continue its forward movement and secure these pivotal positions in perpetuity.

The Museum’s Teaching with Art program was officially launched in 2009 with a grant-funded initiative to engage classes across the curriculum. Since that time, the Museum has embraced its teaching mission with an eye towards experimentation and innovation. With 17,000 objects at the Art Museum and an additional 7,000 objects at the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, these collections make the College a remarkable laboratory for hands-on and project-based learning, pedagogical experimentation, and cross-disciplinary thinking and exchange.

Consequently, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum has become a leader in the field of academic art museums, and currently boasts one of the most active object-based teaching programs in the country. 2017-2018 was an especially rich year of activity, with a record-breaking 200 class visits in partnership with 84 faculty from 34 different disciplines, and a total of 3,206 student visits. First year seminars visited the museum 23 times, and 72% of courses using the Museum were from disciplines outside of Art History and Studio Art including Africana Studies, Anthropology, Biology, Classics, Chemistry, English, Film Studies, French, History, Italian, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Sociology, and Theater Arts.

In an increasingly digital age, interactions with real objects have become a compelling component of a liberal arts education. Direct engagement with original works of art and material culture deepens the classroom experience while promoting innovative pedagogical approaches. In addition to fostering visual literacy, critical thinking, and other transferable skills, working with original objects offers faculty and students an opportunity to look closely, think creatively, and make connections, conceptually linking art and material culture with course material ranging from the laws of physics to fundamental aspects of the human condition.

In addition, the Museum regularly organizes faculty seminars and thematic workshops, bringing together scholars of diverse interests who find unexpected and sometimes surprising synergies amongst their areas of expertise. Faculty have come to see the Museum as an important resource not only for supporting innovative pedagogy, gender advocacy in the arts, and the College’s learning goals, but also for their own personal research and enrichment. The Museum is now used as a recruitment tool for a variety of tenured faculty searches, with museum staff regularly hosting tours for prospective faculty candidates. Just as importantly, the Museum’s diverse, encyclopedic collection paired with its innovative student- and faculty-generated programming supports the College’s mission of fostering a collaborative and inclusive community.

Providing permanent professional support to the Museum is essential to the ongoing impact of these compelling new programs. Top on the list is endowing positions in support of Teaching with Art now paid largely through grants or gifts.

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The Library 

 

Through its long and storied history, the Williston Memorial Library has been at the heart of Mount Holyoke’s academic mission. Always iconic, always one of the most beautiful libraries in the nation, the library has been a center of community and learning, a bridge spanning past, present, and future, as well as a key point of intersection for students and faculty. Since its construction in 1905, it has adapted many times to changes in technology, pedagogy, and society. Its story is one of constancy and constant renewal. Now it is time to reimagine the library; to see it with fresh eyes, incorporating not only new technologies and new ways of learning, but new understandings of how libraries best serve academic communities. An extensive renovation of the library’s main spaces, from the entrance, atrium, the archives, and the learning commons to other specialized facilities, will renew and reinvent some of our most revered spaces, ensuring their vitality and relevance for the 21st Century. 

 

Imagine, then, a transformed Williston Library that more fully supports and showcases the important work that goes on there by boldly and intentionally fusing traditional approaches and new technologies, by streamlining how the library is used, by better supporting faculty and student collaboration, and by showcasing the vitality of the library as the hub of a liberal arts education, all while preserving the library’s traditional strength as a place of quiet, scholarly, concentrated work.

 

Much in the same way that the reimagined Community Center has had a profound impact on the sense of campus community, and the new Fimbel Maker and Innovation Lab has set new directions for curricular innovation, a reimagined Williston Library will interweave traditional and cutting-edge trajectories in a powerful way. From its inception, the Library has been the center and the foundation of this intellectual community.

 

First, some background

 

By providing free access to ideas and information to all, libraries have always played a central role in education. While they continue to be places where knowledge is sought, the concept of “the library” is changing on college campuses. With technological innovations that have brought dramatic changes to the way information is delivered, accessed, and pursued, libraries are no longer primarily repositories of physical materials. Now libraries must serve as centers for connection, conversation, and cross-disciplinary pursuits, as they foster academic distinction and originality.

 

At the same time as libraries are evolving, higher education is undergoing its own transformation. Mount Holyoke is a leader in redefining academic excellence for the twenty-first century. Building a community grounded in the power and value of a liberal arts education is central to Mount Holyoke’s mission; honoring our core values, while also embracing opportunities for change, is crucial to our progress and leadership. Our teaching combines the best in traditional methods—seminar discussions, original research, and deep engagement with print and the manuscript—with innovative approaches that incorporate project- and object-based learning, data and computing intensive methods, scientific discovery, and a growing maker-culture that celebrates the intersection of the arts and sciences.

 

Library, Information & Technology Services (LITS) is championing these changes in teaching and learning. From encouraging students’ active engagement with the College’s history in Archives and Special Collections and enriching the print collections through partnerships with the Five Colleges, to implementing technology to enhance pedagogy and support new disciplinary approaches, LITS is central to the curricular transformations happening on campus.

 

In April 2019, LITS completed a study that both examines trends in academic libraries and proposes a plan for Mount Holyoke to renew its learning spaces for future intellectual exploration, collaboration, and discovery.

 

The Vision

 

The reimagined library will incorporate the best in current library design to re-envision Williston Library’s place as this community’s center for academic and intellectual life by foregrounding the best of what Mount Holyoke and LITS offer.

 

Radiating light: Space usage in Williston will be rethought. Radically. Currently, the campus-side of Williston is dominated by offices. That is why, when viewed after nightfall, so much of the building appears dark. By shifting more student- and faculty-centered activities to the east (or quad) side of the building, the library will literally and figuratively glow with activity long into the evening hours.

 

Entrance, Atrium, Archives: The entrance of the library will be dramatically reconfigured to celebrate engagement across disciplines and to foreground the College’s own legacy of learning and change. Once renovations are complete, library users will be welcomed by the Dale Chihuly sculpture, a gift of a member of the Class of 1937, in a dramatically renovated Atrium. Straight ahead, between the distinctive staircases, they will see the rich and engaging Archives and Special Collections; to their right, a modern information commons; and to the left, an inviting configuration of stacks of monographs, carrels, and group study spaces, right beyond the recently renamed coffee shop, The Frances Perk. This welcoming redesign will instantiate all that the library is: a fusion of old and new, and of the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.

 

Learning commons: Stacked though the library floors—one per floor—will be a matrix of distinct “learning commons” spaces focused on Information, Technology, and Research, equipped with state of the art resources, and designed to encourage experimentation, discovery, and innovation. On the first floor will be a commons that will address many student and patron questions and needs, performing current help desk functions. On the second will be a space where questions focused on effectively using and incorporating new technologies will be addressed, and on the third, a center for assistance with research. This design is intended to provide ready access to services where and when users most need them, and in spaces aligned with their academic needs.

 

Fourth . . . the MEWS to be transformed into Dwight Commons. TLI, Center for Academic Resources and Resilience

 

Distinctive spaces: The new library will create—acoustically and otherwise—separate and distinctive zones facilitating a range of collaborative styles, from quiet conversation to active cooperation. Of course, truly quiet spaces for focused, concentrated, and reflective work will be part of the mix. And, yes, though the stacks will be refreshed dramatically, those individual study carrells will still be there, although now they will have better access to the electrical power that fuels human capacities. That individual student engaged in solitary late-night reading, deep in the recesses of Williston, forever shall be.

 

Throughout, the proposed redesign will honor the nature of each space, making iconic chambers such as the Atrium, the Reading Room, and the Stimson Room places of increased inspiration, while infusing technology spaces with a vitality that will draw the community into active engagement.

 

Knowledge is power. This vision for a reimagined and renewed Library is central to the College’s continued progress as an academic institution committed to empowering a community of scholars to meet contemporary challenges with the same effectiveness and fervor with which previous generations of Mount Holyoke students, graduates, and scholars met the trials of the past.

 

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