The second prong of The Student Imperative, which is committed to generating academic and programmatic value, embraces the perspective that real-world experiences can be integrated into a college education and that our cutting-edge offerings make the CMC experience unique in higher education.
For CMC, the key to sustaining and maintaining CMC’s rich educational environment requires exploration of teaching and learning methodologies and strategies.
To give our faculty the resources for such an exploration as part of the Imperative, the College was selected for a Mellon Foundation New President’s Grant, a three-year $100,000 grant to permit our premier faculty to examine new ways of challenging our students and expanding their learning capabilities.
What core learning objectives do we want our students to carry with them into the world, in their careers and chosen disciplines? The answer is found in three words — creativity, empathy, and courage — which President Hiram Chodosh first outlined during his 2013 inauguration, and which form the focus of our work with the Mellon grant.
The Mellon grant enables us to reinforce these three values both in our curriculum and in the fuller range of student experiences, including athletics, clubs, and other engagements in and with the community. This approach emphasizes the dynamic relationship between learning and experience: a virtuous cycle of learning to do and doing to learn so that students gain both theoretical and applied expertise in a particular field and an ingrained capacity for creativity, empathy, and courage that will enable them to lead, in the words of CMC’s mission statement, “thoughtful and productive lives.”
We want our faculty to collaborate on strategies, develop tools for measuring the three learning objectives, and investigate connections between these core performance capacities. Faculty participants are expected to articulate their current and proposed activities around at least one selected core competency, and also to develop a methodology and measurement designed to cultivate and grow them. In a sense, these roundtables serve as think tanks for enhancing our curriculum.
In other areas we continue to optimize value for our students, including advances in our signature Robert Day Scholars program, a computer science strategic collaboration with Harvey Mudd College, realignments of our Silicon Valley Program and Kravis Leadership Institute's programming with the College's core mission of leadership, enhancements to our global presence, as well as the completion of the Roberts Pavilion, a fitness facility that serves as the ideal home for our entire community and our top Division III teams.
Too often, whether in higher education or in corporate America, various offices either operate in a vacuum or act in competition with each other. In contrast, what all of these programmatic enhancements at CMC foster is more cross-department interaction, and more collegial engagement.
At CMC, our faculty is committed to a forceful response to the view that the best learning experiences can’t be found on a liberal arts college campus.
The Mellon Grant is a vigorous and invigorating response to that proposition, as are the multitude of additional new programs now being implemented as part of The Student Imperative.