Earlier this year, I announced that Whittier College had taken the bold decision to tackle, head-on, one of most critical issues facing our nation—access to quality and affordable education. This initiative included a vote by the Board of Trustees to freeze tuition for the 2020-21 school year. This is a big step for the College and is part of a comprehensive plan to confront the issue of affordability on our campus.
I also made clear that we are looking for new ways of doing things around here.
For one—Whittier is pursuing alternative strategies to generate revenue. We’re developing new non-degree and certificate programs, growing graduate programs and summer enrollment, and seeking new partnerships with foundations and private organizations.
At the same time—just as importantly—Whittier has launched a multi-year fundraising campaign focused on creating new scholarships for students. Nearly all of our students receive some form of financial aid. Scholarships, in particular, are instrumental in filling the gap for those students who are already working part-time and taking out loans. Our students are smart, driven, and hardworking, and scholarships allow them to focus on their studies rather than on finances.
This digital only-edition of The Rock magazine showcases some of the innovative and impactful work that is taking place at Whittier. Work that not only impacts our campus but the local community as well. The first feature story invited students to share their unique Whittier experiences through the lens of their own smartphones. The Rock also spoke with Professor of Child Development Kay Sanders about the realities of raising children in a racialized society. Professor Sanders regularly partners with students on her research on this topic. A third feature showcases multi-media student projects in the Breaking the Silence course led by Professors Paula Sheridan and Doreen O’Connor-Gomez.
As a College that prides itself on equity and inclusion, we have to endeavor to ensure that these types of opportunities remain accessible to all our students.
This is why we at Whittier are challenging ourselves to think differently. We can no longer continue to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing. We must think entrepreneurially to find innovative sustainable solutions to the issue of college affordability.
Our society needs smart, college-educated young people to lead the next generation. In turn, we need to ensure that these young people can afford the college education they are so eager to attain. Working together, we can continue Whittier’s great tradition of providing students of every background the kind of liberal arts education that prepares the kind of leaders our nation and world most need.
- Linda Oubré