Volunteer Symposium

September 29, 2017

Hi all–

Just sharing a few tidbits from the Volunteer Symposium at MHC that I attended September 15-17 as head class agent.  Since I was the only one there from the class of ’61, I was quickly adopted by the Class of ’64—all sixteen of them—head class agents, class agents and the class president.  It made for a fun two days.

Acting President Sonya Stephens shared updates on strategic priorities and new initiatives at the College.  She emphasized building a community of scholars around the new community center.  There are now 50 majors and a distinctly diverse and international student base.  With over $700 million in endowment MHC has a stable financial outlook but is limited in the ability to spend money.

The term “liberal arts” creates public relations issues.  MH continues to seek innovation within tradition, emphasizing new disciplines and pathways and most important collaboration among faculty, students and the wider community.

Alumnae Association priorities include more use of technology and engagement of global alumnae.

Jon Western, Dean of the faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs, discussed the turnover in faculty during the last few years and noted that 45% of faculty members have been at MHC for less than ten years.  Especially with the fundamental challenges facing the world today, the need for critical thinking is paramount.

We are also seeing a great diversity of faculty.  The younger faculty members tend to have deeper, more specific areas of expertise than before, and faculty seminars are held to encourage collaboration among disciplines.  There are exciting initiatives in the academic program, especially the expansion of “make spaces”, these are object-oriented, project-based and team-based learning experiences.

All in all, MHC seems to be in great shape as we venture into the 21st century.  Everyone thanked the attending alums for their work in fundraising for the College.  However, since the majority of funds needed to support the College come from individual donors, our contribution to our college must be ongoing. 

Let’s try to increase our percentage of participation for this academic year.  Last year was 53%–let’s try for 60%!!

Sandra Svihovec Hewitt

Head class agent

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