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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community

Welcome Back

January 18, 2017

blue-quote-leftFrom the moment I was surrounded by its warm embrace, I was head over heels in love with Spelman College, and especially with the beautiful people who study and teach there…

blue-quote-rightThe whole of the place seems to have been lifted from the depths of our spirits, to the full realization of our hopes and dreams for a better America. If Spelman is not the paradigm of a great college, I do not know what is.

- Leonard Riggio, Founder and Chair of Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Dear Spelman Community,

Welcome to the new year and welcome to the start of the spring 2017 semester!

2016: A Re-cap
Our Spelman College community can look back on 2016 with great pride.  Once again, Spelman students, faculty and staff lifted the College ever higher with their hard work and stellar accomplishments.

For a comprehensive overview of highlights from the fall of 2016, please visit Robust 2016 Funding Fuels Spelman’s Rigorous Research, Programs, and Initiatives Focused on STEM.

A brief summary includes record numbers of applications, national and international awards extended to nearly one fifth of the graduating class, and recognition for Spelman faculty in the form of research grants, publications and/or presentations at national and international academic conferences.

Institutionally, for 10 years straight, the College continues to enjoy being ranked as the No. 1 historically Black college or university, according to U.S. News and World Report. Spelman continues to soar in other rankings, as well, vaulting into the upper echelons of colleges offering study abroad programs. Once again, according to the National Science Foundation, Spelman produces more Black women who complete doctorates in fields of STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - than any other college or university in the country.

Title IX Update
On top of those accomplishments, the College strengthened and expanded its Title IX infrastructure. Highlights include:

Response Line - Spelman offers a 24 -hour hotline for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. We are currently recruiting faculty and staff to serve as hotline volunteers. We are asking volunteers to submit an application, participate in a screening interview, and receive an endorsement from their supervisor or chair prior to completing the training. Once trained, volunteers will assist with providing crisis intervention to students who have experienced sexual or gender based violence. Selected volunteers will serve in a rotating, after hours and weekend, on call schedule. An email will be sent out next week with additional information.

Haven for Faculty & Staff - Spelman partnered with Everfi, Inc., to offer online education on the subjects of sexual and relationship violence, entitled Haven. All incoming students completed the Haven module. This semester we will expand our education and outreach to include faculty and staff. This online module will provide faculty and staff with definitions and interactive situations to better equip them to fulfill their roles as Responsible Employees – those who have the authority to take action to redress sexual violence and who have been given a duty of reporting incidents to a Title IX Officer. In the coming weeks faculty and staff will receive an invitation to participate in this module.

Campus Climate Survey - In February, we will be launching a campus climate survey. The survey instrument was developed by the U.S. Department of Justice and has been validated by an independent research company, RTI. We will be joining many colleges and universities across the country to establish baseline information to inform our services, practices and needs related to the sexual and gender based violence. For the 2016-2017 academic year, we will invite a representative sample of sophomores, juniors and seniors to participate in the survey. The results will complement the information gathered, using the Haven module, we collected from first-year students on their experiences, attitudes and beliefs.

Strategic Plan Update
Last year, Spelman launched a strategic planning conversation designed to engage the campus community. The completed plan will serve as a covenant shared among faculty, staff, students, the president and her senior team, and the board of trustees, and will identify the College’s priorities for the next five years. To develop these mutually shared priorities, we engaged the campus community in a series of planning conversations that included meetings of a strategic plan steering committee, community day gatherings, and listening sessions that permitted smaller groups of faculty, students and staff to provide feedback.

We have now distilled our thoughts about the initial planning possibilities into four strategic themes. The next step is to further refine those themes by creating specific initiatives and metrics for the College. I invite you to visit Strategic Planning: Inventing the Future at Spelman to review and comment on the four themes of the strategic plan: Heighten Intellectual Excellence, Leverage Spelman’s Strength, Optimize Organizational Capacity and Broaden Student-Centered Innovation.

A personal note:  Yesterday, I submitted to President Barack Obama my resignation as vice-chair and member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In my letter to the president, I told him what a privilege it has been to serve him for the last eight years and to work with our glorious First Lady, Michele Obama, the Honorary PCAH co-chair.  One era ends; a new one begins. 

Standing on the cusp of a new year, Spelman looks towards the future with abundant faith and gratitude. We are grateful for the commitment, hard work, and love of our community and grateful for an expanding circle of faithful who believe in what our beloved Spelman can accomplish and are willing to contribute in support of that future. 

You have my best wishes for a successful and fulfilling academic year.


Mary Schmidt Campbell
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D. 
Spelman College 
350 Spelman Lane, SW 
Atlanta, GA 30314-4399