Welcome to a new academic year
Dear Fellow Albrightians,
Welcome to each of you as we begin the 2022-2023 academic year! The start of a new academic year has always been one of my most favorite times of the year. It signifies a fresh start, an opportunity to try new things, or to do things differently. Whether you’re here at Albright for the first time, returning from summer break, or you’ve been working and learning on campus all summer, I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities that being part of the Albright community offers.
With the start of the academic year, we begin the next phase of our work on enhancing Albright’s creative culture — work that will be announced by the college’s Creativity Implementation Team in the coming month. For those who are new to our campus, this is important work in which Albrightians from all corners of the campus are engaged, as we define the incredibly-wide variety of creative and innovative learning experiences students are pursuing as part of their Albright education.
I reflect on the great work that we have done on this project in the last six months and how much we have learned. Phase 1 of our work included many different groups and academic departments sharing their own definition of creativity and showing how students develop creative skills through academic or other work across campus.
The most significant takeaway for me is how much creativity and innovation are already ingrained in Albright’s culture — and yet, we don’t typically describe our community as creative. Let me share a few examples:
Many of our faculty, and some whole departments, do amazingly creative work through the fourth hour of quality. For those who are new to our college, the fourth hour of quality is a unique Albright learning component that is part of every academic course, and involves alternative learning opportunities that occur outside the classroom.
In the Theatre Department for example, it is through fourth hour work and engagement across classes that award-winning productions are now expected from Albright College by national theatre leaders.
There are so very many examples, including producing photography that demonstrates sociology concepts, creating video to help understand ethics, considering global health through film; distinctive writing projects, melding discussions on current events and pop culture into academics so that students engage with their discipline in a new way. The fourth hour, and the way many have chosen to implement it, is a distinct aspect of Albright’s academic program.
The co-major concept is also a distinctive aspect of Albright’s academic program. In the past five years, students have combined Albright’s co-majors in a multitude of ways — creating personalized courses of study that help them to both pursue their passions and develop professional skills and expertise. Psychology, Sociology, Business, Arts and Arts Administration, Computer Science, English, Biology, Communication and History are the programs with the most co-major combinations.
Of course, creativity abounds on campus far beyond academic programs. Within the framework of the Creativity Implementation Team phase 1 plan, a group of staff and faculty completely reimagined student on-boarding, with the development of Summer Foundation Days, re-imagined Welcome Weekend, and stretched events that are helpful to new students extending into the first half of the fall semester. For Phase 2, this team will assess the impact of this new and much more creative programming.
So, as we begin this new academic year, I find myself inspired by the creative culture that defines the Albright community. It is truly a hallmark of an Albright education. I celebrate the work of each person in this community, and I invite each of you to reflect on the moments that have moved you, the moments when inspiration strikes, and the people who have helped to propel innovation.
For those who are new to Albright this year, we have a tradition that we call Spirit Days, sponsored by the Albright Spirit Committee and President’s Advisory Council on Wellness. Every Friday, wear your Albright gear and Albright red to show your Lion spirit. You might even be rewarded with a treat! Don’t forget to share on social media – #albrightlionpride.
Welcome to the 2022-2023 academic year! Wishing you a fun, productive, engaging, and successful semester.
It’s always a great day to be an Albright Lion!
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82 President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Albright College Twitter: JacqueFetrow Instagram: AlbrightPrezFetrow Pronouns: she/her (Want to know more? https://www.mypronouns.org/)