Kalamazoo College Self-Study Report: A Decade of Change, Challenge, and Promise. Prepared for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
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The title of this report—and of this introductory chapter—was chosen with some trepidation, for what college could not say that the past decade, or any ten-year period of its history for that matter, was a time of change, challenge, and promise. Yet a confluence of decisions and events has occurred at Kalamazoo College since 1993 which not only makes this title singularly appropriate but which necessarily has defined the primary concerns and themes of our self-study. While in certain profound respects, we remain the Kalamazoo College of 1993, in other equally profound ways, we have undergone fundamental changes (in calendar, people, expectations) and have coped with moments of malaise and crisis which have challenged the institution. The effects of this change and challenge include problems and tensions with which the college continues to cope; yet, many of the changes themselves, as well as responses to the challenges, also promise a stronger and revitalized institution. In this initial chapter, then, we will review chronologically six developments and events which together transformed the college over the decade, and then turn to a discussion of how assessment has evolved within this context of turbulence. We will conclude with a description of the self-study process, which proved a useful vehicle for taking stock of the past decade, and an overview of this report, which builds upon and extends this process of taking stock.
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