Fall 2019 Welcome Letter

Posted: August 26, 2019



August 26, 2019

Dear Scripps College Community Members,

As the new academic year begins, Scripps is preparing to welcome new and returning students, faculty, and staff to our College community. I’m looking forward to this year’s many opportunities to learn, grow, and support each other as a community of scholars and leaders who approach education with curiosity, creativity, integrity, and respect.

I’m excited to share the following recent College news, updates, and announcements: 

Campus News

New Community Members

Please join me in welcoming new students, faculty, staff, and trustees to the Scripps community. First-year and transfer students and their families will arrive on campus beginning August 28, and their academic achievements, diverse backgrounds, and broad experiences will undoubtedly enhance our community. I am grateful for the extensive preparations that Scripps staff and faculty have been making to warmly welcome new classmates, neighbors, and friends into our community. I look forward to meeting our newest group of exceptional students as they begin their Scripps journey.  

Scripps continues to recruit highly qualified faculty who enrich the educational experience for our students, as well as staff who contribute their expertise to help build a more vibrant community, and new trustees who will serve as ambassadors and stewards of our institution. We value their ideas, energy, and knowledge, and we are glad they’ve chosen to be at Scripps. A complete list of new faculty and staff is available online, and I encourage you to learn more about our new community members in the upcoming fall edition of Scripps Magazine.

Endowed Faculty Chairs

I would like to congratulate the following faculty for their appointments to endowed professorships:

  • Professor of Art Ken Gonzales-Day, Fletcher Jones Chair in Studio Art 
  • Professor of History Julia Liss, Mary W. Johnson and J. Stanley Johnson Professorship in Humanities
  • Professor of Psychology Sheila Walker, inaugural Laura Vausbinder Hockett Endowed Professorship

Campus Improvements

Our Facilities Department worked throughout the summer on several campus projects, including renovations to Malott Commons, the Clark Humanities Museum, the Human Resources office, and renovation of a lab in the Keck Science facility, as well as relocation of the Writing Center. This fall, we will be expanding and renovating the Admission office, and as a result, some of the Business Affairs office staff have relocated to the Board of Trustees office area, and the Board of Trustees office is temporarily housed at 905 College Avenue.

Working together, Scripps and Pitzer are close to finalizing architectural plans to begin construction of a new science building in 2020. This state-of-the-art facility will enhance the science research and teaching environment, increase the number of tenure-track faculty, enrich the curriculum, and enable more research opportunities for Scripps and Pitzer students and faculty.

Plans are also underway for a new dance center with flexible instructional and performance space, cutting-edge technology, and expanded amenities for Scripps students and faculty. 

The College will continue to focus on sustainability and the creation of a more environmentally friendly campus with these two building projects and future ones. We encourage students to collaborate on the sustainability goals and projects of the campus and consider joining the Scripps Associated Students Sustainability Committee and other on-campus clubs and organizations dedicated to environmental education and initiatives.

Dining Services Vendor Selection

Over the summer, the Dining Services Advisory Committee, composed of students, faculty, and staff, continued its work on the vendor selection process for the College’s dining services contract in 2020. The committee worked to finalize the request for proposal from food service providers, which outlines expectations for food quality, customer service, affordability, alignment with institutional values, and industry expertise. The committee members and I look forward to engaging the community in the review process this academic year.

Scripps Centennial Plan

Computer Science Initiative

Over the summer, Scripps College partnered with Silicon Valley technology leaders and other liberal arts colleges to help students build fluency in computer and data science. Scripps Associate Professor of Mathematics Winston Ou teamed up with Pitzer faculty member David Bachman and two Google engineers to deliver the Applied Machine Learning Intensive. Scripps students also participated in a six-week immersive summer program designed to augment a liberal arts education with the technical skills, experience, and networks necessary to participate as changemakers in an increasingly technology-driven society. The program, held in San Francisco, aimed to prepare students with no previous computer science background to compete for technical internships, build technological proofs of concept, and articulate the intersection between new skills with their liberal arts degree. 

Interdisciplinary Humanities Initiative

The College recently announced the launch of the Mellon Interdisciplinary Humanities Initiative, a new academic program comprising humanities “clinics” or “community courses” taught by Scripps faculty that will draw upon pedagogies designed to transform undergraduate teaching and learning in the humanities through community engagement. Assistant Professor of Italian Marino Forlino is teaching the initiative’s inaugural fall 2019 community engagement course, Foreign Language and Culture Teaching Clinic, and three additional courses will be taught in the spring.

New Student Orientation and IMPaCT Initiative

Last week, more than 107 students participated in the Student Leadership Institute, a three-day program sponsored by the Laspa Center for Leadership. Program content combines training and leadership development in a series of sessions tailored to engage student leaders in building community and enhancing the student experience at Scripps. 

In addition, as part of new student orientation, 87 new students will partner with nonprofits throughout Los Angeles County to engage in service-learning projects and learn more about our surrounding communities through the Scripps IMPaCT program, now in its second year.

As we complete implementation of the College’s strategic plan initiatives, we continue to be open to new ideas from the Scripps community. Consider sharing a suggestion for new initiatives through the Centennial Plan’s online form.

Community Engagement 

Scripps College offers a range of campus and community programs designed to create an environment for dialogue and community building. I encourage members of our community to take advantage of the many opportunities such programs offer to explore the complex questions and challenges facing our world today and to engage in critical analysis of the perspectives shaping public conversations. As conversations throughout our country and the world become more difficult, my hope is that we will all work together to ensure that Scripps remains an environment where individuals can discuss viewpoints in a way that respects and honors all community members.

Public Events

The fall season of Scripps Presents events was recently announced, which honors the 50th anniversary milestones of The Claremont Colleges’ Office of Black Student Affairs, Chicano Latino Student Affairs, Department of Africana Studies, and Department of Chicanx/Latinx Studies. I encourage you to attend this season’s incredible event offerings, which include talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead, Top Chef contender Carla Hall, and comedian Cristela Alonzo.

Under the direction of the Interim Director of the Humanities Institute, Dr. Myriam J.A. Chancy, Hartley Burr Alexander Chair in the Humanities, this year the Humanities Institute will focus on the theme of “World/Wounds: (De)Centering the World/(Re)Centering Wounds.” Planned events include a Hip Hop Summit and the Haiti Earthquake 10th Anniversary Symposium, as well as art exhibitions, film screenings, and conversations with writers and activists.

In addition, the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery presents the exhibition Asian Art Treasures at Scripps College through December 15, and the Clark Humanities Museum presents “Extraordinary Images: Japanese Prints from the Scripps Collections” through October 1. The Friday Noon Concert series begins on September 15.

The Offices of Alumnae and Family Engagement will resume the Behind the Scenes series in October, in which members of the Scripps community are invited to intimate educational and social gatherings at premiere cultural institutions nationwide. Visit the Office of Alumnae Engagement website for more information.

Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Initiative 

The IDEA initiative will continue to sponsor events designed to facilitate community dialogue and deepen understanding of critical issues and their relevance both on and off campus. Programming will include ConverActions, discussions about election season, and community workshops and consultancies designed to foster individual and collective wholeness and resilience.

For more College news and events, please visit our website.

Thank you for your contributions and dedication to our community as we work together to build and sustain a stronger Scripps. Incipit vita nova!

President Lara Tiedens



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