Geneseo’s liberal education prepares students to simplify complex problems.
By President Denise A. Battles
“Aaah, the good ol’ days!”
While that expression harkens back to a supposedly less complicated time, it’s largely an illusion. Our society has always presented us with complex problems — and throughout Geneseo’s history, the College has striven to provide a liberal education essential to solving them.
Today especially, the pace of change and degree of complexity have never been greater. Nor has the demand for the College to produce educated, responsible citizens who can rise to the challenge of addressing societal needs.
Certainly, the stories in this issue of the Scene attest to that responsiveness and reflect a central concept in our educational philosophy as a publicliberal arts college: we do not engage in merevocational training for students but educate those individuals to be successful human beings throughout their lives.
We do so by delivering more than content knowledge. We cultivate lifelong traits critical for success. On campus and beyond, it is gratifying to see Geneseo students and alumni demonstrate a real passion for learning, problem-solving, teamwork, communication and other hallmark attributes honed by the liberal arts.
These outcomes affirm what other College stakeholders and I believe: students who acquire the skills, knowledge and sense of civic responsibility offered through a Geneseo education are best equipped to lead productive lives in a rapidly changing world.
Equally important, our alumni are well prepared to achieve the kind of work-life balance that will allow them to gain satisfaction and contentment in their lives. As you’ll read throughout these pages, Geneseo’s graduates are committed to pursuing their academic passions and professional careers while also engaging in activities that invigorate them holistically.
Admirably, they understand the importance of knowing their core values and adhering to them. This sense of self-awareness and generosity of spirit are reflected in our distinction as a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers and our ranking for contributions to the public good by Washington Monthly Magazine as second overall among the nation’s 606 master’s universities.
Geneseo’s values are instrumental in shaping the kind of alumni for which we are known — leaders with the capacity to simplify life’s complex problems. Learning, creativity, inclusivity, civic responsibility and sustainability permeate our campus.
As president, I rely on our values to guide us as we move forward. I am reminded daily of the many talented individuals in our campus community who are deeply committed to Geneseo’s mission, always ready to roll up their sleeves to solve problems together.
As a community, we re-envision our baccalaureate education and infuse integrative learning as an outcome throughout our curriculum. We work to address the national challenge of supporting women faculty in STEM through a National Science Foundation grant (nearly $900,000) in collaboration with our Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges members. And we come together to improve programs like intersession to expand students’ learning opportunities.
Our to-do list is long and the challenges many. More than ever, higher education finds itself in dynamic times requiring a certain nimbleness to meet society’s changing needs. Yet, by cultivating and drawing upon our community of thinkers and achievers who are grounded in the liberal arts, we can leverage our position for success.
Complicated? Yes. But not impossible. Because we are Geneseo.