Endowed professorships are the most powerful means we have to ensure the future of the professoriate. Currently, 78 of our 151 full professorships are endowed. In this campaign, we seek to add substantially to our unrestricted endowed professorships to provide resources that ensure Williams’ ongoing ability to recruit and retain the most talented and committed teachers and scholars.
Nothing is more critical to the college and the quality of education we provide than the quality of the faculty. We must recruit the most committed and accomplished faculty and then foster conditions, both at Williams and in the community, to support their work and retain them. Today, as we enter a period of unprecedented faculty turnover, we must intensify our efforts and deepen our investment to secure the college’s next great faculty.
Strengthening Core CommitmentsWilliams asks its faculty to be productive scholars and great teachers. We must invest in opportunities to support and retain outstanding faculty members and foster new research and innovative teaching among scholars at all levels.
Providing endowment for a faculty member and students together demonstrates support for the most fundamental and distinctive element of a Williams education: the relationship between professors and students. These giving opportunities would provide an endowed professorship and financial aid for two students, as well as comprehensive support for the students’ research experiences.
We seek to foster new research and inspire innovative teaching among faculty at all levels. To that end, in this campaign we seek endowment for fellowships, designed as term support for senior faculty interested in undertaking a significant new project or line of research. A fellowship provides four years of financial support, including a year of paid research leave, for well-articulated interdisciplinary projects that involve students and incorporate a range of research and teaching activities.
Tutorials are emblematic of the intensity of the closely mentored academic experience that Williams provides, rare in higher education and transformative for our students. We offer more than 70 tutorials across the curriculum each year, and more than half of all Williams students take at least one during their time here. We seek to sustain and build upon this distinctive program by endowing tutorials, enabling faculty to engage in this special form of teaching and providing them with the resources they need to continue to develop new tutorials.
Visitors are a vital part of the faculty at Williams. They enrich the curriculum with new courses and allow departments to explore directions they might later pursue. Sometimes visitors become permanent members of the faculty, making their recruitment all the more critical. And visitors enable the college’s sabbatical research leave, which is a significant factor in faculty recruitment. Endowing visiting professorships helps sustain this important component of our professoriate and our community.
Investing in the FutureOver the next decade, the college will see the retirement and replacement of approximately a third of its faculty. Resources—investments in start-up costs for labs and research programs, in equipment and access to scholarly journals, as well as competitive salary and benefits and other key recruitment considerations—will make the difference in the college's ability to secure the next great Williams faculty, who will, in turn, determine Williams' future.
The decade ahead will see the retirement and replacement of approximately a third of the Williams faculty. This unprecedented wave of faculty turnover, occurring simultaneously throughout higher education, requires strategic use of resources to recruit the best candidates and retain those already among our faculty. Such investments would include support for start-up costs for research programs, temporary additions to the faculty to bridge anticipated retirements or seize unique opportunities, and creative solutions to spouse/partner employment and other one-time competitive packaging issues.
Direct college support of scholarship, in all fields of inquiry, is an essential element of the intellectual vitality of the faculty. Today it is more important than ever that Williams support high-quality research that keeps our faculty at the forefront of their fields and provides our students with exceptional educational experiences. Williams’ ability to provide substantial, consistent institutional support for research in all fields can powerfully differentiate Williams, not only from other colleges, but from top research universities as well.
The new Sawyer library speaks loudly to our view of the library as central to the mission of a liberal arts college in the 21st century. Information may be more accessible than ever, but the cost of journal subscriptions and books continues to climb. Sustaining the excellence of our collections requires significant new investment, leveraged by the curation and management of the collections by the college’s exceptional librarians.
Technology powerfully deepens and enriches pedagogy. In this campaign, we seek to build endowment support to enable Williams to be ambitiously and appropriately experimental in the development and implementation of new tools. Technology can be used to broaden opportunities–through web-based instruction in a wide variety of languages, for instance–and it can provide lessons about modes of teaching that inform pedagogical practice on campus.
Transforming the AcademyThe college has shown, and must continue to show, leadership in developing programs that are making a meaningful difference in diversifying the academy. The initiatives we have undertaken to advance this critical mission—from support for pre-college students to the recruitment of our own faculty—constitute a deep institutional commitment that we seek to sustain and deepen.
Since its inception in the late 1980s, the college’s Summer Science Program has brought nearly 500 incoming students of color and first-generation college students to Williams for an intensive, five-week introduction to studying science at Williams. Its counterpart, the Summer Humanities and Social Science Program, was created in 2000 to provide similar opportunities to support the development of students’ academic and intellectual lives.
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the Allison Davis Research Fellowship work to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in higher education by preparing students from underrepresented groups for careers in academia. Both programs provide underrepresented and first-generation students at Williams with faculty mentored research opportunities, preparation for graduate school, and individualized support.
The Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship, named for the college’s first black graduate, was created in 1985 as a stepping stone into the academy for graduate students from underrepresented groups. The program, which we seek to endow in this campaign, provides fellows with two years at Williams to complete their dissertations, teach in our departments, and be mentored by our faculty.
We seek to endow this innovative program that supports the placement of PhDs from underrepresented groups in faculty positions at Williams and other small liberal arts colleges, as well as the placement of our underrepresented students into doctoral programs at participating research universities.