Westmont Magazine Wholly Individual
by Jane Hideko Higa
Vice President and Dean of Students
Parents sometimes ask me what I think is unique about a Westmont education. My response always centers on an excellent educational program achieved through caring faculty, staff, and fellow students. What does this mean? How does this happen? The key to our success lies in seeing each student as an individual with unique contributions and needs.
I’m encouraged by the number of students who have told me a professor has supported them through a difficult time or inspired them to “dream big” as they plan for life after graduation. In our senior surveys many faculty names appear as people making the greatest impact on students’ lives. This individual care adds a life-changing dimension to the excellence of our academic program.
Education at Westmont extends beyond the work of the faculty. I am so pleased with the high-quality student life staff who complement the learning that takes place in the classroom. These approachable, Christ-centered, dedicated professionals help your sons and daughters become adults. As a resident director, the chaplain, a career counselor, a nurse, a secretary, or a dean,they get to know students as individuals, encouraging them to see college as a critical time to establish their identity and consider what contribution they can make to the world.
We begin by asking students to understand the unique experiences (both positive and negative) and values that influence who they are when they arrive on campus. Other questions follow: Where do you want to go from here? How can you use your experiences to contribute to this community and to the world? What can you learn from those around you and from your classes to broaden your perspective? What are your new thoughts and perspectives?
We count it a privilege to help your sons and daughters answer these important questions. As faculty and student life staff work with individual students outside of class, we create a context for the excellent teaching that occurs at Westmont. We join together to make our educational program one that will be a part of your students’ lives forever. Critical to this process is seeing and responding to each student as a unique individual.