Like signatures, our educations are singular. Each of us assembles the skills, accomplishments, insights and lessons we have experienced in our own unique way. Our educations say a great deal about us. The college we attended, the courses we selected, the major we completed—all of these bear witness to the choices we made. Our education, too, if done right, testifies to the potential we have to make a difference, to have an impact, to do good in this world.
Elizabethtown College offers each of our students a singular experience. One that is unique, powerful and meaningful. Personalized, much like a signature. Students who are mentored to make thoughtful choices learn more deeply. Our Strategic Plan has led to the creation of what we call our “Signature Learning Experiences” (SLEs). These experiences offer our students five opportunities to learn actively through internships, research with a faculty member, service or community-based learning that combines classroom study with service off campus, cross-cultural experiences and capstone courses, all of which bring our students’ academic experiences together. And we guarantee that ALL of our students can take advantage of at least two SLEs during their time at Elizabethtown.
Through working with a faculty or staff mentor, each of our students finds his or her own combination of SLEs that are a right fit. Students find these experiences inside the major and beyond and in the academic realm as well as part of student organizations on campus. Studying abroad, learning about leadership in the Called to Lead program, conducting laboratory research with a faculty member, senior music recitals—all of these can be signature experiences for our students.
These experiences carry the risk of setbacks and inconclusive results. In other words, the essential elements of real-world learning. With a mentor and a supportive community around them, our students have a safety zone where they can plan big, possibly fail, get up, learn from the setbacks and emerge stronger.
By actively learning, our students grow as individuals, learn more about the real world and prepare to use their education to make a difference.
Elizabethtown College prepares our students to write their own stories, to weave together experiences for the first chapters of what will be long and exciting volumes, and to be prepared to leave their mark, their unique signature on the world.
I am pleased to present this President’s Report, which details the collaborative work taking place, here, in our campus community. And, just as our students look forward to each new chapter in their lives, we have framed, by chapters, our important work at Elizabethtown College.
Carl J. Strikwerda