By Jeff Abernathy
Alma College President
“What can I do to change the world?” It’s a question that I have been asked often as a college president, and one that was likely asked by many at Alma College before my time. With an endless supply of energy and creativity, along with a burgeoning sense of awareness and knowledge of relevant issues, college students have long been considered drivers of movement and change.
As you’ll read about in this issue of The Tartan, a new, faculty-driven objective to revamp our core curriculum — the “general education” courses that students are required to complete regardless of major — will give our students the knowledge and experience they need to make a positive difference in the world.
In keeping with our longstanding liberal arts tradition, this new core still requires students to take courses in different disciplines. However, the core is now more tailored to each student than ever before. It provides them with the skills they need to become a lifelong learner, and an attractive candidate for the jobs they seek. I appreciate our faculty for their commitment to this project, a process that took several years of work.
The core curriculum is not the only driver of change on campus, however. Alma College is proud to assist our students with harnessing that energy and building the connections that can impact our communities — local, state and national — in ways that we never have before.
We’re doing this through the Center for College and Community Engagement (3CE), which was launched in 2021 and has already done an incredible job with teaching students the value of civic responsibility, engaging in meaningful service, and discovering their purpose and vocation.
3CE staff are working on programming all across campus — with students, faculty and staff — on new service and service-learning opportunities, faculty and staff engagement and training, interfaith partnerships and curricular programming to promote ethical reflection and engagement. We’re excited by the possibilities that their efforts afford us and can’t wait for what’s to come.
I’ve never been afraid of change, especially when it advances the college toward our mission. As we make these changes at Alma College, I’m grateful to have your support, and look forward to seeing how we can change the world together.