I want to thank all Bard College at Simon’s Rock donors for their sustaining support of the College and for committing to this important venture that began as a place for young people to learn and gain perspective, which has outlasted its critics’ predictions, and exceeded even its founder’s expectations.
The global economic situation has had an effect on every institution in the country, and Simon’s Rock is no exception. But thanks to our supporters, there is much to celebrate, great room for optimism, and wonderful energy on campus. This is a time to use our history of innovation to preserve and build on the progress we’ve made in recent years with their support; diversifying the campus, developing signature programs, establishing the Win Commons, and enjoying success in admissions and enrollment.
Because of the philanthropic support of our donors (honored in the Simon’s Rock Donor Report) the College’s priorities, philosophy, and distinctive and important educational mission will remain the touchstones as the College addresses the current climate and move towards economic recovery.
PROTECTING THE ACADEMIC CORE
A central component of a Simon’s Rock education is the close relationships students develop with faculty. A small student-faculty ratio is a fundamental aspect of the College’s culture and is at the heart of our educational philosophy, and we remain dedicated to ensuring that students receive the appropriate level of academic challenge and support.
In addition the student body has grown, diversified, and strengthened in recent years. We will maintain our commitment to supporting financial aid for students, to support both those who are currently enrolled and to enable prospective students to have the opportunity of a Simon’s Rock education.
SECURING THE SUCCESS OF STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
We have invested in signature programs with Lincoln College Oxford; an engineering partnership with Columbia, Dartmouth, and Washington University; the University of Manchester’s Center for New Writing; and the Bard Globalizations and International Affairs program. These programs enhance our academic profile, strengthen our student recruitment and retention and allow us to maintain a small campus community while offering exceptional options to students. We will continue to nurture these relationships, and will also continue to provide support to students who study away through the Rodney Christopher Scholarship Fund.
We have made considerable strides in diversifying the campus community through recruiting students of color and providing support in the form of scholarships and campus systems. We have begun to diversify our faculty, and have been admitted to the Consortium for Faculty Diversity in Liberal Arts Colleges. We have inaugurated the Book One program, and endowed the Du Bois Lecture series. These programs will continue as we build on our success in providing a strong and diverse education.
The Win Commons was created in response to ideas from alumni and to faculty workload concerns. Since the Commons was created, more students have studied abroad and away, and have taken internships and volunteered in our community, than at any time in our history. Students receive individual guidance for transfer decisions, and more students are moderating to Upper College. As a result of the Commons, students have support for learning disabilities, writing and quantitative tutoring, and designated individuals for responding to issues of accessibility. Its core mission will continue unabated.
Admissions has made dramatic improvements in the last few years. Our enrollment has grown, strengthened and diversified. Our updated outreach and recruitment strategies, our commitment to financial aid, and our support of the staff who work so hard to bring in strong classes each year will continue unabated.
In order to support these priorities and preserve our core activities, we have responded to the economic climate by taking a number of aggressive actions to reduce costs while protecting our mission. With a keen understanding of our priorities we have done this without diminishing the educational experience or lessening our commitment to providing financial aid. These include suspending new construction, reducing utility usage, and making strategic decisions about budget expenditures and reductions in order to maximize efficiency.
Simon’s Rock is a distinctive institution, and an important one. Together with our generous donors, we have built an exceptionally strong academic core and a beautiful physical campus. We have invested wisely in programmatic improvements, grown the enrollment while strengthening and diversifying the student body, seen a large increase in private gifts, and built an endowment. Thanks to many our donors, these investments have put us in a position to work through the difficult economic time. As we work through the changing climate aided by the generous help from our supporters, we will continue to guide the campus with a clear vision for long-term health, preserving the vital progress we have made as an institution.
Mary B. Marcy
Provost and Vice President