SATURDAY MARCH 4, 2023
In serving previously as dean (1998-2002) and acting president (2002), as well as being on the faculty (1989-2002), Dr. Tatum acquired a deep understanding and institutional knowledge of Mount Holyoke. This was on full display as she easily and gracefully navigated the tough questions classmates submitted, as they were posed by Mary Davis Graham and Martha Dolkart Bernstein.
Here is a brief summary:
Question: What is your overall impression of our college?
(1) MHC is operating on a balanced budget and is in good shape with early decision, enrollment,
endowment, and the number of young tenured professors all on the rise. The college is also in the top ten of recruiting black students, and well-known as a Fulbright producer. (2) What is concerning is that 10% of faculty has resigned at least in part because salaries are not competitive. Therefore, the college must raise tuition and grow its endowment in order to catch up (to Smith and Amherst.)
Question: What are some examples of other changes in the landscape?
(1) “Data Science” is now recognized as a new major while German and Russian Studies majors are gone. Curriculum priorities are shifting.
(2) All five colleges in the Pioneer Valley will have new presidents this year, and all will need to meet the challenges of navigating this new uncharted landscape.
Question: What is happening specifically with women’s colleges?
They are in decline. Dr. Tatum also commented that because Mount Holyoke has hidden its light under a basket for too long, it must find a path to “authentic boldness.” Women’s colleges are important globally and this may be the right time for our alma mater to lead the way.
Question: What can we ’65-ers do to help?
Perhaps be part of a mentoring program, or get involved with SOLA (Schools of Leadership Afghanistan), and continue our financial support!
Meanwhile, our gracious and capable interim president is ready to take well-deserved time for reflection, writing and traveling. We are very grateful to her for spending part of her Saturday afternoon with us, and to all the backroom wizards who made this “Mini” possible.