If we are to lead higher education as a model liberal arts university, the educational experience we offer students must be thoroughly engaging, both in the classroom and in students' lives outside of class. Academic excellence and faculty-student collaboration are clearly central to the William & Mary experience, and are cited by students as the primary reasons they choose to come here. That level of personal engagement in the classroom – empowered by a favorable faculty-student ratio – is foundational and must be maintained, even as we envision innovative approaches to liberal education. Because we are a highly residential university with 75% of undergraduates living on campus and with more than 70% of graduate students enrolled full-time, we also have a parallel obligation to provide excellent services, professional staff support, and diverse co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students.
William & Mary's policies, programs, services and facilities must be intentionally designed to promote academic success and student growth. Student engagement outside the classroom, for example, is enhanced by diverse experiences and relationships forged through interest groups, cultural organizations, performing ensembles, leadership experiences, living-learning residential communities, civic involvement, global education and athletic competition. Further, student success – both academic and personal – is largely dependent on our providing appropriate supports within this challenging environment. Strong student services in such areas as personal counseling, academic advising, health care, career development, accessibility services and recreation are among the areas most critical to student well-being. Our commitment to excellence acknowledges that operational resources, well-designed spaces for living and learning and a favorable number of professionally trained staff are required for us to meet student need in the years ahead. In a truly engaged community, there is pride in belonging – and that sense of belonging is reflected in relationships that flourish between and among faculty, students, staff and alumni.
Creating Inclusive Environments.
An engaged community promotes inclusivity in its curriculum, facilities, programs, policies, and offerings, and demonstrates its commitment to diversity and inclusion through the composition of the community itself. We affirm that academic and personal lives are enriched when the academy embraces all individuals, particularly underrepresented and marginalized populations.
Promoting and Supporting Well-Being.
An engaged community values and promotes the well-being of its members. We recognize that well-being undergirds and strengthens excellence at William & Mary. It provides a firm foundation for achieving our institutional goals and is essential for the lifelong success of every individual.
Building Career Readiness.
An engaged community is committed to students' career development and readiness. At William & Mary, career readiness is built upon the university's liberal arts foundation. We employ best practices in career development, and leverage the involvement of faculty, staff, alumni, parents, peer leaders and employers.
Expanding Leadership Development.
Strategic Direction Statement: An engaged community encourages, promotes and supports leadership development and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Helping members develop leadership skills and seek leadership roles, whether formal or informal, is encouraged. William & Mary approaches leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that results in positive social change.
Enhancing Community through Space.
In an engaged community, members feel connected to people and place. Well-designed spaces can facilitate conversation, invite reflection and encourage interpersonal relationships. We fuel creativity and learning through thoughtful design of William & Mary's indoor and outdoor spaces.