I’ve just finished reading a glowing article about our Psychology Department in the American Psychological Association’s Monitor on Psychology, so I have a broad smile on my face and the transformative power of great teaching on my mind. The article highlights our students’ success in conducting and presenting research, and quotes the department chair on her philosophy of “taking students’ ideas into account, being as excited for students as they are about their future and guiding them to where they want to be.”
So despite all the challenges we all encounter running residential liberal-arts colleges, my mind is on what we do so well every day that no MOOC or vast university system or for-profit business can come close to replicating. At first-rate private liberal arts colleges, faculty and staff deliver the quality educational experience our students demand and our country needs. We provide students with personal attention, mentoring, and hands-on collaboration not only in classrooms, research labs, and rehearsal rooms, but also in the dining hall, over coffee, and while working on service projects. It’s what excites me about coming to work every day. And it’s why we should all feel confident about the enduring value of a liberal arts education.
Mitchell Reiss, President, Washington College