How can Amherst best prepare studentsfor a lifetime of learning, success and fulfillmentin a rapidly changing world?
Reinventing Liberal Arts
PRIORITY 1 proposes that Amherst reinvent liberal artseducation. Among other recommendations,it outlines plans for a “faculty-driven review andassessment of the curriculum that will consider whatliberal arts education ought to be in the 21st century.”This priority also calls for an increase in courses thatfocus on research methods, as well as more “experientialand project-based courses, internships and activities.”
PRIORITY 2 focuses on the quality of Amherst’s faculty, including by emphasizing strongsearch processes, increased support forfaculty research and greater opportunities forprofessional development. It also highlightsthe need for upgrades to a variety of classroomsand research facilities, as well as to such spacesas Frost Library and the Mead Art Museum.
Life on Campus
PRIORITY 3 addresses the importance of the residential experience. It highlightsthe promise of improving health andpsychological services, capitalizing on theCollege’s diversity as a source of learningand turning groups of new and existingdorms into “neighborhoods” where studentswould choose to live for multiple years.
By assessing and, where necessary, changing the curriculum.Renewing a commitment to recruiting the best studentsof all backgrounds. Increasing support for faculty and studentresearch. Creating new residential communities. These are amongthe ideas outlined in the College’s new Strategic Plan. The 55-page document—finalized in June after gaining approval fromthe faculty, student government and Board of Trustees—lays outseven College priorities. “The plan does not envision a transformation of the College,” President Biddy Martin wrote in a letterto the community; “instead, it outlines vital incremental changesthat will reaffirm our commitment to liberal arts education.” E.G.B
Diverse Student Body
PRIORITY 4 emphasizes the College’scommitment to “enrolling the mostpromising students from all social andeconomic backgrounds.” Among therecommendations: more recruiting in“socioeconomically diverse, previouslyuntapped geographic markets” and moreresources for financial aid.
PRIORITY 5 calls for cultivating internationalperspectives by supporting foreign language fluency,increasing the number of courses that offer “breadthand depth in the study of other cultures” andenhancing support for international students. Bypartnering with other organizations, the College alsoaspires to expand its offerings of highly meaningfullearning opportunities in other countries.
PRIORITY 6 underscores the College’svision for becoming a model of financial,environmental and institutionalsustainability, including through “a new,rigorous budgeting process,” achievinga carbon-neutral College footprintand strengthening its recruitment andretention of staff.
PRIORITY 7 stresses the imperative ofalumni involvement in the life of theCollege and outlines a series of ideas foradvancing that connection, includingproviding greater opportunities forlifelong learning, engaging alumni morefully as student mentors and expandingoutreach to international alumni.