May 24, 2019
Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Friends of Oberlin,
Earlier this week, I received the final report of the Academic and Administrative Program Review Steering Committee, titled “One Oberlin.” This report chronicles the work of the AAPR, offering a wealth of data about Oberlin collected for the review. It lays out ten major recommendations for the College and Conservatory, better aligning our resources to our mission and championing investments that will build upon Oberlin’s academic excellence for its third century. I am very grateful for the General Faculty’s overwhelming vote to endorse the AAPR Steering Committee’s final report.
I have followed the work of the AAPR Steering Committee very closely over the course of the year and listened intently over the last two months to the vibrant conversation throughout the campus community. As I’ve said elsewhere, the AAPR has addressed some of higher education’s most pressing challenges with the tools of the liberal arts themselves — critical thinking, intellectual curiosity and courage, a broad frame of reference, and the ability to understand and dissect complicated issues without losing sight of the big picture. Most importantly, this examination and exploration is rooted in a deeply ethical and humane set of principles that put the collective good of Oberlin ahead of any individual interests. It is an extraordinary and historic achievement.
I am pleased to accept the Steering Committee’s recommendations. I will offer the final report to the Board of Trustees without amendment and seek its approval for this course of action at our June meeting. If the Board approves, we will waste no time in taking the steps outlined in the report to begin implementing these recommendations, including consultation this summer with the General Faculty to create an ad hoc committee charged with oversight of the implementation process. This next phase of our work will take fortitude, hard work, and collective good will — qualities we have seen throughout the AAPR which gives me confidence that the next chapter can be just as successful.
I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to follow the AAPR, digest its findings, and engage with its recommendations. I said early on that each of us must be responsible for Oberlin’s future, and your participation in the AAPR demonstrated that spirit.
And of course, I must extend my admiration and heartfelt gratitude to the 31 members of the Steering Committee, led by acting deans David Kamitsuka and William Quillen. The sheer amount of work each of you volunteered to this task represents a rare contribution to Oberlin. Beyond that, you have shown wisdom and courage and a collective commitment to this institution that amounts to a profound gift to all of us here and generations to follow. I know I represent the entire community in offering our lasting thanks and warm best wishes for a restful summer.
Carmen Twillie Ambar