SEC/Provost Partnership Ushers in New Academic Era

Megumi Rierson, staff writer

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At the most recent faculty meeting, it was decided that the office of Student Engagement will no longer report directly to the Dean of Student Affairs, but rather the Dean of Faculty. The Dean of  Faculty is also known as the Provost or the Chief Academic Officer, and he is responsible for the direction, content and budgeting of Whitman academics as well as the production of superfluous position titles to pad the egos of our revered bureaucrats. Having the SEC report to the Dean of Faculty is expected to usher in a new era of growth and collaboration between the professors who allow us to mature as academics and accrue knowledge on subjects about which we are passionate and the staff in Reid who tell us how that knowledge can be best applied to an unpaid internship in a distantly related field.

New course offerings that reflect this new merger of the people you generally know as Adults That Are Sort of In Charge of Me But Not Really are already in the works. The SEC hopes to bring in more courses that focus on the post-Whitman experience, including ARTH 509 What Are You Going to do With That Art History Degree?, ECON 307 Commodify Yourself, POL 402 Have You Thought About Law School?, MATH 454 But What if I Want More Debt? and ENGL 277 You Should Probably Have Some App Ideas as a Backup.

In addition to new courses, the SEC will be assigning students career advisors along with their academic advisors to ensure that students are aware of the multiplicity of vague position titles that employers use when searching for financially and existentially desperate youth to work for free like Intern, Fellow, Mentee, Shadow Program Participant, Keurig Engineer, Copy Machine Czar, etc. The collaborative advising program is intended to allow students to mature academically through the exploration of various fields of study while also providing estimates for the returns on investment for each major, an integral part of the major-decision process.

Ultimately the change will lead to an increased presence of the SEC in student life, which is excellent news for those of us who were feeling a little distant from their staff after ignoring every email and watching the Grad School Bonanza poster fall off the tennis courts. The partnership signals to us as students that what we learn here is increasingly valued in terms of its compressibility as a LinkedIn bullet point, and it provides hope that the future of Whitman academics is as bright as the flash on our SEC-sponsored head shots.

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