Highlights from the Fall Semester

December 11, 2017


Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

As fall classes end and students head into finals, I wanted to write to express my appreciation for the hard work and dedication our community has shown this semester. We all worked hard to place some of the difficulties of the last year behind us to begin to heal and to reunite as a community. And so much of our energy this fall was focused on looking ahead toward the future of Trinity College. 

It was exhilarating to see such a wonderful turnout at last week’s event celebrating Summit, the strategic plan that will guide our work in the coming months and years. So many students, faculty, and staff gathered to mark this historic moment in the life of the college and to learn more about what happens next and how they can be involved. Creating this plan for our future involved all of our constituencies—students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, neighbors, and friends. We heard you all! And we are all focused on making Trinity a first-choice destination. Please let us know if you have specific ideas or suggestions to offer, or if you’d like to be involved

Also, I am delighted to share the news that Trinity College has been reaccredited for 10 years by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. This was a long, comprehensive process that began with a self-study evaluating the last 10 years that we submitted in the fall of 2016. In March 2017, an evaluation team was on campus for an intense, three-day visit. Throughout the accreditation process, our forecasts for the future were based on an honest and thorough appraisal of our past. That Trinity has been reaccredited for the maximum period possible—10 years—is a sure sign of the strength of the college and the confidence of CIHE and our evaluation team in our plans for the future. 

My deep thanks go to all who took part in the accreditation process, including the many trustees, faculty, students, and staff who participated in meetings with the evaluation team and those who worked tirelessly to prepare our self-study and related documentation. I’m especially grateful to Dean of Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives Sonia Cardenas and to David Andres, director of analytics and strategic initiatives, for their outstanding work. 

I’ve been heartened that so many in our community have taken part in Bridging Divides, the ongoing work of contributing to the public good by engaging in productive, respectful dialogue and understanding across differences of opinions and backgrounds. From the Pre-Orientation and Orientation programming to the well-attended faculty discussion panels and art exhibition at the Widener Gallery, we showed our capacity and our desire to learn from one another and to grow stronger as a community. 

There is still much work to do to live the ideals of a liberal arts education and to be the inclusive community that we wish to be. As part of that work, I invite you to join me for a brief gathering coordinated by College Chaplain Allison Read, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Karla Spurlock-Evans, and Vice President for Student Affairs Joe DiChristina in the Chapel tomorrow, Tuesday, December 12, at 11:30 a.m. We will take a moment to reflect on the fall semester and draw strength from one another. I am especially attentive to the additional, cumulative stress experienced by members of our community who endure intolerance, exclusion, and hostility related to race, religion, nationality, gender identity, or sexual orientation. I believe it is important that we show solidarity and affirm our community values of pluralism, diversity, inclusion, and equity. Please join me tomorrow. 

To all in the Trinity community, best wishes for a restorative break. I look forward to seeing you back next semester!

Sincerely,

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience