Welcome to the 2022-2023 Academic Year

August 26, 2022

The below message was sent on Aug. 25, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone to the start of Bryn Mawr’s 138th academic year.  I hope that each of you had opportunities for rejuvenation and relaxation during the summer months. 

I invite all students, faculty, and staff to see old friends and meet new members of the community at Fall Convocation and the all-campus picnic that will take place on Monday, August 29.  Convocation will take place under the trees of Senior Row beginning at 4:30 p.m., with picnic to follow immediately thereafter on Wyndham Green. 

New Community Members

We welcome many new faces to campus this year, including 398 members of the undergraduate class of 2026, 12 transfer students, 5 guest students, 12 new doctoral students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 95 new students at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, and 61 postbaccalaureate premedical students who arrived on campus over the summer and who join us in celebrating the 50th anniversary of this outstanding program.  New tenure-track faculty members in seven academic departments and a number of visiting faculty will bring new fields of research and new classroom experiences to our academic community, ranging from biophysics to urban sociology. 

Bryn Mawr also welcomes several new staff members whose work is focused on co-curricular student experiences, including Director of Athletics and Physical Education Cristina Fink, Student Engagement Coordinator Mia Harvey, New Student Coordinator Melissa MacPherson, and Residential Life Coordinator Tessa Ballard.   I hope you will take the opportunity to welcome new Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Nicole Reynolds, new Chief Communications Officer Samara Sit, and Jamie Frueh, Associate Provost at Bridgewater College, who is spending his American Council on Education Fellowship year at Bryn Mawr.  This fall the College will launch a search for our next Dean of the Undergraduate College; in the interim, Chief Enrollment Officer Cheryl Horsey will serve as Acting Dean. 

Campus Spaces

Once again the summer has been a busy time for renovation and construction projects on campus.  While a number of these projects are not particularly visible or glamorous, they contribute to safe and comfortable academic and residential spaces (e.g. roof replacements, alarm systems, masonry repairs, and sewer work (!)).  However, those of you who work and study in Park Science will quickly notice that the Collier Science Library Reading Room renovation is complete, as is the new Park 100 Geology Lab and new Computer Science and Geology faculty offices and research labs. New artwork selected by a student committee is now installed in “The Well” (the Student Life and Wellness Building), and students will find new spaces for club meetings and study on the second floor of the Campus Center and offices for our new members of Student Life staff on the first floor.  I am also happy to report that the old infirmary will come down in the early fall.

New and Ongoing Initiatives

This summer I began discussion with the Board of Trustees about our next strategic planning process.  This process will be guided by a few key questions about Bryn Mawr’s strengths and the evolving higher education landscape and how Bryn Mawr can best fulfill its mission in that landscape.  All campus constituencies will have an opportunity to contribute to this work, and I will share more details in the coming weeks.

Across the College administration, faculty, students, and staff will continue our collective work to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism at Bryn Mawr.  Among this year’s priorities will be course development, supported by the Provost’s Office, for the new Power, Inequity, and Justice requirement; appointment of a new Assistant Director of Access Services; a new Praxis II course for Fall 2022, Advancing Racial Justice, supported by the Racial Justice Impact Fundcontinued support for student/faculty/staff Teach-in events; and revision of the Bias Response process and Title IX education and training for staff and students.  A more comprehensive plan for the year will be shared in September.

Campus Events

The beginning of the academic year brings an enormous array of activities and events to campus, with more to follow as the year progresses.  I encourage you to make time to explore and to participate in some of these great opportunities!  Here are some to consider: 

  • This semester we will launch The Dialogue Project (piloted in May), a workshop open to students, faculty, and staff that aims to build capacity for difficult conversations.  Look for more information soon.
  • Funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Bryn Mawr will host a major retrospective of the innovative algorithmic theater of Annie Dorsen this fall, as well as the premiere of a new work in January 2023 and associated talks and events.
  • A Rough Draft in Stone, the third installment of “Who Built Bryn Mawr?”, will open on September 16 with tours conducted by the student summer interns who researched and developed the exhibition.
  • Diving into Math with Emmy Noethera one-act play by portraittheater Vienna, celebrates the most important woman mathematician and physicist of the 20th century, who joined the Bryn Mawr faculty after fleeing Nazi Germany (Thursday, September 22).
  • Homecoming is scheduled for Saturday, September 24, and will include activities hosted by Athletics as well as Centennial Conference home games for soccer, volleyball, and field hockey. 
  • On September 27, the College and Monument Lab will share findings from the community engagement work that took place last year, and plans for commissioning an artwork that will contribute to answering the question, “What stories are missing from the Bryn Mawr campus?”
  • Commissioned by Bryn Mawr with support from ACLS, 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright James Ijames has written an adaptation of Medea that will be staged at the College this spring; the project will also engage students from the Community College of Philadelphia and E.M. Stanton School in South Philadelphia.  My thanks to Catherine Conybeare of Classics and Catharine Slusar of the Theater Program for their leadership of this amazing collaboration.  

There are more events and opportunities to share, but this letter is already too long!  Instead, I invite you to explore these and other opportunities and to spend time with amazing colleagues and friends who together form the Bryn Mawr community. 

With all good wishes for 2022-2023,

Kimberly W. Cassidy