First-Year Seminar: The Academic Senate has approved a pilot “First-Year Seminar” for the 2014-2015 academic year. We will offer about 5-6 sections of this one-credit, seven-week seminar, each crafted for about 12 students. Within these small cohorts, faculty will guide students through discussions of classic and contemporary essays and books and help them reflect on their transition to Westmont. The new seminar seeks to help first-year students build connections with faculty, discover the joy of conversation about ideas, and prepare to get the most from Westmont’s liberal arts experience.
NASM Review: The Music Department recently underwent its site visit by an evaluation team from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The visit is one of the concluding events in Westmont’s full accreditation by NASM. While the formal written review is still to be completed, the team did offer some final words of appreciation for an “extraordinary” visit and program. Kudos to Michael Shasberger, Steve Butler and their department for their excellent work building the program and earning such high commendation.
Westmont Forum: On April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Founders, we will offer the second “Westmont Forum” dedicated to conversation about difficult issues. Earlier this year a poll identified “women’s leadership in the church” as one of the two issues that most interested students, and this second Forum will be devoted to exploring diverse perspectives on that theme. While the Forum will air some sharp differences, it also seeks to produce more light than heat—to encourage irenic discourse rather than acrimonious debate. Margaret Chapman, Bruce Fisk, Helen Rhee, Kelly Soifer and Kyle Wells will present an array of views and challenge one another, with Cheri Larsen Hoeckley as moderator. In the first Forum on February 19, Paul Morgan, Tom Fikes, Randy VanderMey and local physician Carolyn Griffith did a fine job probing the controversies about health care.