Sharing recommendations from the Experiential Learning Task Force

Dear Faculty and Staff, 

The college’s strategic focus on growth requires not only that we introduce new programs and expand our geographic reach, but also that we build upon Wheaton’s strengths. For that reason, I appointed a task force last April to develop bold and detailed recommendations for transforming the college’s historic emphasis on experiential learning into a signature program that brings together varied offerings into a holistic, integrated plan that extends from matriculation through graduation. 

I’m pleased to share that I’ve received and accepted the task force’s recommendations summarized here. First, I want to express my appreciation to the members of the task force, who met weekly from April through the end of June, to craft an ambitious plan that has great potential to help the college realize its growth goals. 

Broadly, the plan connects experiential learning with academics and cocurricular life, and engages alums throughout. The goal is to assist students in designing their Wheaton experience, including experiential learning, as well as their post-Wheaton life and career. Life design provides space for learners to explore work and career alongside other important elements of an abundant life, including physical and mental health.

Central to the plan is the creation of the Life and Career Design Center, which will build upon our existing resources and structures.

To realize an aspirational and integrated vision like the one proposed would, of course, require significant additional investments – including more staff, technologies, and operating capital – most of which would come from fundraising. With that in mind, and as an immediate next step, a small working group composed of senior representatives from Advancement, Student Affairs, and Academic Affairs will further explore the details that such an operationalization would entail in order to articulate fundraising proposals and make the Life and Career Design Center a reality.

I want to thank the task force tri-chairs, Associate Provost Karen McCormack, Vice President and Dean of Students Darnell Parker, and Vice President of Advancement Merritt Crowley, and the task force members —Board of Trustees chair, Janet Lindholm Lebovitz ’72; trustees Henri Gates ’72, Indira Henard ‘03 and Alumni Board Chair Katie Leiby Schneider ’06; professors Dolita Cathcart, Imran Chowdhury, and C.C. Chapman; and staff members Shaya Gregory Poku, Alisha Flaxman ‘17, Seth Hodge, and Matthew Wheeler—for their dedication, collaboration, commitment to the process, and recommendations.  

I look forward to the next phase of this exciting, collaborative, and transformational undertaking.