England Semester

Report from the England Semester

The England Semester is now in England . . . after a launch in Edinburgh, Scotland. A quick report from Chris Hoeckley from the road:

"Fantastic theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival—special thanks to John Blondell for recommending Do Theatre's Hangman/ GameTheory and Theatre du Soleil's Les Naufrages du Fol Espoir (Aurores).

Hiked up Arthur's Seat (an extinct volcano in Edinburgh) on a cold and beautiful moonlit night with illuminated walking sticks, surrounded by hundreds of long distance runners in colored light suits. A little odd (a little risky) and very beautiful.

Read Wordsworth's original manuscripts of The Prelude (in Dorothy's and Mary's hand, with notes from Coleridge and revisions from Wordsworth) with the curator of the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere, adjacent to Dove Cottage (photo). Major hit.

Off to Beatrix Potter's house and John Ruskin's house. We're very hopeful about the quality of the group. They're enjoying each other and learning well . . . Thanks to all the faculty back on campus for their part in shaping these great students."

Jeff Schloss

Assorted Faculty Matters

For several years most of the books written by faculty have been kept on the shelves of the Provost’s Office. This fall, though, Debra Quast and Mary Logue have arranged for them to be on display in the library, where they can be more easily browsed and read by students, colleagues and other visitors. Look for them soon on the main floor.

Tremper Longman has been elected to serve as the chair of the Faculty Personnel Committee, an assignment that will delay his plans to join the coaching staff of the Philadelphia Eagles. As of this semester, Westmont College has two orchestras. Under the leadership of Michael Shasberger, the orchestra has been swelling, with 80 members for this fall . . . enough, in fact, to split the group into a 60- and a 20-member ensemble.

Jeff Schloss (photo) is a visiting scholar at Princeton University this year, with an appointment as the Houston Witherspoon Fellow in Theology and the Natural Sciences in residence at the Center of Theological Inquiry. He is participating in a year-long collaborative project with an interdisciplinary team on evolution and human nature. While there, he is working on a book on biology and theism, which under contract with Cambridge Press in their philosophy of biology series.


Catalyst Program Expands

Westmont’s honors program—the Catalyst program led by Telford Work—has welcomed 51 new students, who will be introduced to an array of educational and experiential opportunities. The program kicked off on Friday with a tour of Westmont’s trails led by Paul Willis, and the presentation of each student with a copy of Augustine’s Confessions. This semester we are also piloting a small honors seminar, taught by Telford and Tom Fikes, that will focus on some short readings and give incoming students a smaller venue for exploring ideas and gaining an introduction to the liberal arts.

Students Studying

Update on Program Review

Last year we assessed students’ "written communication," one of our institutional learning outcomes (ILO). The primary goal was to determine how well Westmont students met the following "outcome" for general education: "Students will communicate in written form for a variety of purposes and audiences across the curriculum." Sarah Skripsky, who served as our "lead assessment specialist," designed the pilot project, which relied on student portfolios. In June Tatiana Nazarenko, along with 11 faculty representing all three academic divisions, spent two days analyzing the portfolios, which came from 7% of the graduating class. Sarah will be sharing the results at an upcoming Faculty Forum (September 13), and there will soon be recommendations about enhancing students’ writing presented at an upcoming faculty meeting. For the current year, we will be assessing student learning in the "Christian Understanding, Practices and Affections" outcome. The Common Context courses will be the primary locus for the investigation, although we expect the analysis to probe into many other areas of the college. Our assessment team includes Telford Work (lead assessment specialist); Russ Howell, assessment consultant at large; Maurice Lee, assessment consultant in general education, and Tim Wilson, assessment consultant from Student Life.