Santa Clara University

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Putting students first and focusing on effective teaching practices that result in positive outcomes continues to be our core commitment. How did Santa Clara University keep this commitment last year? The following are a few examples:

  • We enhanced study abroad opportunities by developing programs more closely linked to social justice and experiential learning.
  • We launched a new Undergraduate Research Initiative to expand research opportunities for undergraduates and foster a culture supportive of undergraduate research.
  • We improved our facilities by opening the Lucas Business Building and the Sullivan Aquatic Center.

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We honored the “teaching scholar” concept by providing courses and experiences led by faculty whose primary responsibility was teaching but who also were conducting research. We believe that students learn best when they engage with faculty whose passion for teaching is informed by their active scholarship. In this report, you will read of Elizabeth Dahlhoff, associate professor of biology, and the ways in which she embodies the teaching scholar model.

We continued to mentor our students to become independent learners. A truly stellar example of such mentoring is Noelle Lopez, an honors student, track star, philosophy major, and Rhodes Scholar. Ms. Lopez’s story of how academia and sports are interconnected is featured in this report.

The notion of challenging and helping students undergirds the University’s Residential Learning Communities program. Each RLC is supported by a faculty director, a resident director, a resident minister, and various faculty and Jesuits in residence. Together, these mentors create an environment in which students can flourish academically, socially, and spiritually. In this report, you will read how one RLC combined science and broomball through the mentorship of its then-faculty director, Phil Kesten, associate professor of physics.

The development of a new Core Curriculum is a way to continue nurturing our students’ inclination and ability to become responsible citizens and leaders. The new Core Curriculum increases attention to learning goals and objectives. Each class syllabus is a commitment from the teacher to the student that he or she will attain specific learning objectives. In this report, you will read about Assistant Professor of Philosophy Shannon Vallor and how her students benefited from her Core pilot course Personal Identity and Community.