Each Friday during the academic year, the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs sponsors a lunchtime talk for faculty and campus volunteers to share their scholarship, teaching practices, and major projects.
At the beginning of each semester, the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to discuss with leading experts and campus specialists various contemporary issues in higher education, faculty and staff development, and student engagement. These sessions provide participants a chance to engage, tackle, and learn about contemporary areas of concerns for the Colleges and liberal arts in general, and provide mechanisms to support student and faculty development.
Beginning with the Fall semester of 2016, the First Year Seminar (FSEM) Fellows Program and the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs have created a common read series for the incoming classes. Over the summer prior to their first year, incoming students receive a copy of the common read in preparation for their first year at the Colleges. FSEM and campus programming throughout the year is geared towards engaging first-years and the campus around relevant conversations around the common read. The first common read text (2016-2018) was Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. For the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, the common read was Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl.
Recognizing the educational and intellectual benefits of a multicultural teaching and learning environment, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs work collaboratively on initiatives to enhance, support, and increase the exposure to diverse and important perspectives on campus. Together, the two offices work on supporting the faculty in the hiring, recruitment, mentoring, promotion, and development processes as well as on initiatives to address issues around equality, equity social justice, and awareness across campus.
The Colleges oversees three summer programs that provide current and nonmatriculated students the opportunity to take for credit between academic semesters HWS courses. The Maymester and Summer Session programs provide current and non matriculated students the opportunity to take one course from mid-May to early June (Maymester) or two courses from early June to early July (Summer Session). Courses are for full-credit at HWS and are transferable. Information on the programs will be updated in January.
Working in coordination with faculty members across the curriculum, the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs manages the Undergraduate Summer Research Program. The program provides opportunities for current students to experience the rigors and joys of the research process by working side-by-side with a faculty mentor and other students on a major research projects.
Providing a regular mechanism for in-depth evaluation of the effectiveness, progress, and status of academic departments and programs, periodic programmatic reviews have been a principal means through which the Colleges assess and improve the quality of our academic programs, our curricular offerings, and our support for student and faculty development. Roughly every 7-9 years, departments and programs undergo a new program review where they may choose different areas (curriculum, student, or faculty development) to focus attention in strengthening the program. The Department and Program Review Guidelines can be found online.
The Colleges are accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In the 2013-14 academic year, the Colleges completed the reaccreditation process with Middle States and received its 2014 Middle States Commission Statement of Accreditation Status. The next self-study evaluation is scheduled for the 2023-24 academic year.
In the Fall of 2014, then-President Mark Gearan appointed a steering committee of students, faculty, staff, and alums to develop policies and recommendations to enhance and foster a culture of respect on campus. The Committee was charged with examining and identifying opportunities for improvement in campus safety and wellness, facilities, history and heritage, dialogues across differences, and the curriculum. The link is to information and recommendations to that process.
In the Fall of 2013, then-Provost and Dean of Faculty Titilayo Ufomata initiated a review of the curriculum of the Colleges, including requirements for the general curriculum, majors, and minors and various components of student development. The link provides information on the process of the curriculum review; reports, proposals, and suggestions of working groups; and a history of the HWS curriculum.