On April 20th, Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith spoke with students in Sci 101 to outline her vision for the future. The event featured a Q&A session with the roughly 40 current and prospective students in attendance. Other members of the administration were present: Dean of Students Liz Braun, Vice President of Development Karl Clauss, Health and Wellness Services Director Alice Holland, Vice President and Dean of Admissions Jim Bock, and Presidential Fellow Bruce Easop. The Daily Gazette was present to live-tweet the event with the hashtag #ValsVision. Below is a summary of takeaways and curated set of our tweets.
- A public fundraising campaign to start this fall and run until 2020. This is a change from the current ‘quiet phase’ of fundraising. The target fundraising amount is $450 million.
- Swarthmore is being increasingly diverse and accessible. 58% of new freshmen will receive financial aid. 23% of the admitted class are first-generation. 12% are non-US citizen international students.
- A “Visioning campaign” next year will involve students, faculty and staff to map out the strategic direction of the school.
- Health and wellness will see improvements as a first step to the Worth Health Center receiving accreditation. The insurance plan currently mainly covers 80% of costs for students. The college is thinking of transitioning to 90% coverage, to be in line with other institutions. Electronic medical records are another proposed upgrade. There will be a focus on addressing the “hidden costs of education” – such as CAPS, textbooks, and wellness.
- The creation of a non-academic space for students. Currently, there are proposed construction efforts for the Biology, Engineering, and Psychology building and the new building to house the Art Department at Whittier.