Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dean Stone's 2011 State of Academic Affairs Address released

The text of the State of Academic Affairs Address, delivered by Dean Barbara Stone at the Assembly of November 12th, has been placed online.

This year’s report comes at a very interesting time: We’ve now been in Chicago for five years and in May we will be graduating the first large entering class of students who were “recruited” in Chicago and have never known Shimer in any other home, though they may have of course made the trek to Mt. Carroll or Waukegan at some point in their time here. Waukegan now has really become a part of Shimer lore. Some faculty have retired, some are thinking about it, we have now hired 4 new members to the faculty in the last 3 years – which is a sizeable percentage of the current faculty - and the student body has been growing by about 15% in each of the last few years. This year also marks the 10 year period when the Shimer faculty completed a review of the entire curriculum, which will be a major focus of this talk and of a community-wide discussion this Tuesday. I should actually clarify the previous sentence. The curriculum review will be the major focus of Tuesday’s discussion; today I will focus more on a couple of other changes that the faculty made in conjunction with the review. Some of these changes will be implemented immediately, others within the next couple of years. There are a large number of other academic matters that are discussed in the curricular report, as well as the larger Self-Study, that I don’t have time to address here. So take a look at both of these documents. They have been emailed to everyone, there are some copies on the floor, and the curricular review is also the Appendix to the Self-Study Report. I want to publicly thank David Shiner for his work in leading the faculty through this curriculum review as well as through the other ones of recent decades

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

If to be Shimer's president you're inclined, you must answer first these questions nine

To ensure that the candidates in Shimer's ongoing presidential search were evaluated on a fair and uniform basis, the same 9 questions were asked in each videoconference interview:

1.What do you particularly enjoy about your present position or a past position that might have some similarities to being President of Shimer?

2. Tell us about one success you have had in your past work, and describe how you achieved it.

3. Based on your current understanding of Shimer, what do you consider the greatest challenge facing the college? (Followup) Have you had experience dealing with this sort of challenge? (If yes) Describe one such situation and tell us how you handled it.

4. What do you see the value of a Shimer-style "great books" education in today's world? (Followup) How would you make this case to a potential donor, a prospective parent or student, or the public at large? Do you think that making this case involves a change in Shimer’s “branding”?

5. Our next President will need to be a collaborative leader. How would you define “collaborative leadership?” (Followup) When thinking about collaborative leadership at Shimer, how would you undertake planning so as to include students, employees, and other stakeholders as partners (rather than simply advisors), and to also make sure that essential tasks are accomplished well and in a timely manner?

6. Have you had much experience working with a governing board(s) as a non-board member? (Followup) What do you view as the proper relationship between the President and the Board, and what sorts of expectations would you as President of Shimer have of the Board?

7. Please tell us about one situation in which you failed and what you learned from the experience.

8. Who have been your models, positive and negative, from among the leaders with whom you have worked? What were the main characteristics and achievements that they modeled?

9. What questions do you have for us?


Finalists are expected to visit the campus in late January.