Linfield College students excel inside and outside the classroom. Here is but a sampling of the past year's accomplishments.
Linfield faculty are experts in their field. For additional faculty achievements, visit www.linfield.edu/linfield-news/faculty-achievements.
The past academic year was notable for many achievements by our faculty, staff, students and alumni. Faculty authored books, presented research findings at conferences, and designed and taught new courses. Students earned Fulbrights and were named Kemper Scholars. They debated with students around the world and achieved national championships. They served their local communities mentoring youth, working in soup kitchens and building homes.
But I am especially proud of how we spent the last year crafting a future for Linfield College. We consulted hundreds of members of the college community: trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and friends. We addressed many questions, remaining true to our traditions while considering the challenges and opportunities of the future. We gathered a great deal of information and we wrote a new strategic plan.
Because we are Linfield, you won't be surprised that we began – and ended – with a focus on the student experience. We want to do our best to help each individual student discover his or her passion, and then create a path that expresses and fulfills that passion. We succeed by graduating students who become leaders in education, business, medicine and the law. For example, one alumnus heads a major law firm, another is a distinguished neurosurgeon and a third is president of a solar power company. And as they excel professionally, they are giving back to their communities. One alumna serves the White Mountain Apache Reservation while another alumnus restores historical markers around Oregon.
Since the college's inception, we have attracted students seeking a personalized education for life as well as a living. Our students are civic-minded and socially-conscious, they connect with alumni and take full advantage of Linfield associations on- and off-campus. We enroll first-generation college students and those from families with a range of socio-economic backgrounds. This diversity must remain a priority, even as ethnic, geographic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds are shifting, and as we continue to enroll more transfer students and more nontraditional-age students.
Our new strategic plan calls on us to make Linfield accessible to our students, to promise them an excellent education, and to offer them a bright future. Access and affordability are more important than ever. Technology can make us more efficient in some ways – and Linfield instructors have employed online resources for decades. But we remain committed to small classes taught by highly qualified faculty as we explore new programs such as a revitalized January Term, new interdisciplinary centers, a more integrated freshman experience, and connections with alumni to mentor students.
The power of a small college is ultimately manifested in the relationships that we form. I eat lunch with our students every week, and find them to be earnest, idealistic, curious, determined and talented. This past year, they conducted research and presented papers at regional and national conferences. More than 900 volunteered 52,000 hours in community service, working with Habitat for Humanity, helping youth learn to read, serving as mentors and helping restore wetlands. They held debates with inmates in the state penitentiary and with Afghani students via Skype. Two more students – and one alumnus – received Fulbright awards this past year, bringing our total to 27 since 1999.
The Linfield experience requires dedicated professors teaching small classes and mentoring individual students. This is expensive, and many of our faculty are nearing retirement. We must continue to recruit, retain and provide time for talented faculty who are committed to such a form of instruction. Alumni tell me – again and again – that their professors inspired them, challenged them and changed their lives. This is more important than ever; this is at the core of the Linfield experience.
Linfield faculty are active leaders in their fields. One created murals for a new center and another will have work included in an exhibit in Budapest, Hungary. A professor and her students developed marketing materials for an initiative that connects Latino farmers with consumers. At the urging of her students, another professor started a blog to share her research about the effects of media on child development.
The strategic plan recognizes that we must recruit, support and retain faculty who are experts in their areas but also committed to teaching undergraduate students. This is not easy: personalized instruction takes time, and so does maintaining one's expertise. Knowledge is rapidly expanding, and to be successful teachers, our professors must be proficient with new technologies, which are also rapidly expanding. If our faculty are to model the world to their students, they must teach collaboratively, demonstrating the connections between different disciplines and modes of thinking. Interdisciplinary classes such as Literary Biology of the Sea of Cortez, which brought together artists and scientists to learn from each other, are more important than ever.
The strategic plan calls for new endowments to recognize and support outstanding teacher-scholars who will remain at Linfield throughout their careers; additional funds for faculty travel to globalize the curriculum and remain current in their fields; proposals for partnering with professors at Linfield, at other institutions and in other countries; and financial support for on-campus research involving Linfield students. Last summer, 54 students engaged in research projects with faculty on campus; we seek to double that number. Our future depends on creating additional faculty positions and programs. That is, our future depends on philanthropy.
In 2011-12 we approved new majors and minors in international relations, biochemistry/molecular biology, and sport management. We enjoyed the opening of our Oregon Wine History Archive, which received regional recognition from Oregon Public Broadcasting and national praise in The Huffington Post. We witnessed the renovation of Taylor Hall and the opening of T.J. Day Hall, a $10 million project that converted the former Northup Library into a state-of-the-art building for the Departments of Business, Economics, English, Philosophy and the Linfield Center for the Northwest. That renovation also underscored our commitment to sustainability. We recently learned that the building received the LEED Gold certification, which means that it was renovated using strategies to improve energy savings, water efficiency and stewardship of resources.
But even as we take pride in those accomplishments, we cannot be complacent. The world is changing, and our strategic plan calls on us to respond.
In the coming years, we need to address the increased demand for updated science facilities to continue Linfield's long tradition of excellent science education. We have found innovative ways to offer collaborative research projects with professors who partner with other institutions. Projects on the Oregon coast and with the Oregon Parks System allow our students to get hands-on experience. Labs have changed, fields have changed, research has changed, teaching has changed and we must change with them.
The Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing has occupied its facilities since 1982. Although we have renovated a few classrooms and labs, space is severely constrained in our Portland facilities, and many of them need upgrading. The demand for nurses and for nurse educators continues to grow and we must consider our role in meeting those demands.
Likewise, our academic programs will respond to the needs of future students. Our strategic plan calls for greater integration of the first-year, mid-point and senior capstone experiences; an even greater commitment to global studies, civic engagement and environmental awareness; more internships and student research; interdisciplinary courses; and the exploration of new learning technologies. These efforts will require additional faculty and the development of partnerships, both individual and institutional.
Our strategic plan sets a course for the next six years at Linfield College. By necessity, it will adapt to new challenges and opportunities. The plan does not fundamentally change Linfield College – we have not revised our mission statement because we believe that we must continue to connect learning, life, and community. But as the times change, we must respond to them, always reinterpreting the meaning of our mission and its challenges to us.
What will Linfield look like in 2018? Our plan outlines essential steps. We will improve our academic programs by providing greater integration of student experiences, academic and otherwise. We will establish many more linkages between our students and our alumni or friends. We will create more research opportunities for faculty and students. We will take steps to improve our facilities in McMinnville and Portland, particularly in the sciences and in nursing. We will add at least three endowed professorships. We will increase the number of transfer students while maintaining our commitment to make a Linfield education accessible to a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds. We will expand international learning opportunities, especially in the Pacific Rim nations. We will become the undergraduate college of choice for those who wish to learn in and about the Pacific Northwest.
Very few of these goals will be possible without financial support from our alumni and friends. We know that our students will need more financial aid than in the past. Thus, scholarship funds will be more important than ever. We must also have the right professors, and they in turn must have the resources to offer an excellent, personalized education. We will need the help of the entire Linfield community.
We would not take these steps, we would not hope for our future, if we were not already emboldened and gratified by the confidence and loyalty you have already shown. Ultimately the strategic plan focuses on how to make our college better for our students. You have demonstrated that you care about them, and you make it possible for them to find their passion and create their path at Linfield College. Your support allows them, and us, to dream.
In behalf of everyone at Linfield College, I thank you for what you have done and will do for Linfield, and I invite you to take this journey with us. As we move forward, you can stay informed, engaged and up-to-date on our progress by going to www.linfield.edu/strategicplan. And I hope you will consider a campus visit, that you will contact us with questions and remain in touch. You are, after all, part of the Linfield experience. Without you, we couldn't have come this far.
– Thomas L. Hellie, PresidentDownload a printable PDF of this page
Our greatest resource is our people – their stories reflect the power of a small college.
Students, faculty and staff forge deep relationships. Faculty challenge students to pursue their dreams and passions by helping them find answers to academic questions and by refining their goals. Students build collaborative, cross disciplinary relationships with peers. Staff members at all levels aid students through workstudy, support programs or just by lending their expertise and compassion. Our alumni reach back to mentor students by providing career advice, networking and through their philanthropic support. Everyone is invested in the success of all our students.
There are countless stories at Linfield College. Here are just six.
For Clara Martinez '14, participating in a recent Fulbright Summer Institute program in Wales provided insights into both a minority British culture and her own Hispanic background. The summer abroad will help shape the remainder of her Linfield experience, her political science and communication arts majors, and her plans for law school afterwards.
Martinez has reveled in the opportunities of a small college. Terrified of public speaking, she joined the forensics team and now has intercollegiate debate and speech awards to her credit. At Linfield, she has debated Afghani students via Skype and with inmates in federal prison. She served as secretary of student government and participated in an alternative spring break program to Newport, working on projects to support youth literacy. This year, she is serving as an RA for residence life.
In class, Martinez notes, all her faculty know her by name. "Whenever I have a question or need help with an assignment, the professors are always available and I take full advantage of that," she said. In advance of the Fulbright program, a Linfield professor put her in touch with a colleague who specializes in Welsh studies, helping her prepare for the summer.
Citing courses ranging from Great Political Thinkers to Calculus, Martinez exemplifies the Linfield liberal arts student. "I am not the same person who set foot on campus freshman year," she says. "My experience will keep changing and I know there's still a lot more to learn."
From prison debates to dory boats and Cicero performances to Oregon ballot initiatives, Jackson Miller is taking his research – and his students – out of the classroom and into the community. Miller, professor of communication arts and director of the Linfield forensics team, has found communication niches in diverse areas. At Linfield since 2001, he takes students into the Oregon State Penitentiary to host demonstration debates, tournaments and teach classes. As a featured presenter with the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project, he prompts discussions across the state about the role of persuasion and communication in the political process, and in a separate project he explored the art of oratory as Cicero. Most recently, he's working with Linfield colleagues and students to preserve stories from Pacific City dory fishermen, collaborating with a student to write a script about the dory fleet which will be produced this fall by the Linfield Theatre.
Linfield's small size allows room for cross-disciplinary exploration, and students from across campus join Miller on the projects. Working with student interviewers keeps him grounded as a researcher, and helps him appreciate the information being collected. "The students always bring such passion and energy and insight to the project, which helps energize me and keeps me focused," Miller says.
Favorite campus hangout for Amy Cunningham '13? Not the coffee shop or the swimming pool, but Murdock Hall, home to Linfield's Chemistry Department where she has spent countless hours working on research projects and class assignments.
It is there, with the support and guidance of chemistry faculty, that she has honed her future goals: earning a Ph.D. and a career as a forensic scientist or developing medications to fight disease.
Cunningham was looking for a small college that could offer individual attention. At Linfield, she found a close-knit community and professors eager and willing to answer questions, spend time with her individually and include her in collaborative research, taking full advantage of the Linfield experience.
Cunningham was on the swim team for two years, in concert band and on the Linfield Gaming Council. Last summer she had a grant from a Linfield endowment to study the potential uses of sol gel and aerogel as enhanced surface sensors in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The project provides insight into the world of research and enhances her qualifications for graduate school. Professor Liz Atkinson supervised the project, one of the dozens undertaken collaboratively by Linfield students and faculty each summer.
"Liz is amazing because she makes you feel confident and makes distant educational dreams and opportunities feel like real possibilities," Cunningham says.
Psychology professor Jennifer Linder's blog, Media Mom Ph.D., may have started out as a challenge from her students. But now her insights into how television, video games and media images affect young people have attracted a large following.
Linder's research linking TV watching to aggression in children has gained national attention for her and her co-researchers. Concerns about the negative effects of television have typically focused on physical violence, but non-physical aggression can also harm kids. "Children and teens are impressionable and receive powerful social lessons from watching television," says Linder, associate professor of psychology.
Linder wanted the best of both worlds when it came to a workplace. "I wanted to do research and teach at a small school and Linfield fit the bill," she says.
Since joining the faculty in 2002, she has received grants to include students in her research, including co-authoring papers and presenting at regional and national conferences with her students. The experiences are crucial for students applying to graduate programs. "What makes an applicant stand out is research experience and strong writing skills, both of which we cultivate," Linder says.
Linder's research enhances her teaching. Two of her classes are based on her research, giving students cutting edge information and Linder a fresh perspective. "My undergrad mentor experience was so pivotal in changing my life, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with students," she says.
Her one regret? Not taking biochemistry. She simply ran out of time.
As a transfer student from a large Midwestern public university, Alex Lazar '14 arrived at Linfield looking for small.
He found the intimate setting he sought in Linfield's tight-knit community, a stark contrast to his previous collegiate experience where his only class with fewer than 200 students was taught by a graduate assistant. At Linfield, Lazar has developed close relationships with faculty and students, and says most people know each other and are always willing to help one another out.
Lazar, a finance major, discovered the importance of a personalized education as the only non-major in an upper division philosophy class – his first exposure to the subject. Professor Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza took the time to explain complicated concepts that were new to Lazar, including philosophical aspects of martial arts. And, when Lazar struggled, Ilundáin-Agurruza was there to encourage him, noting, "I see some great potential here. Let's work on it."
Outside the classroom, Lazar volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and built houses in Tacoma, Wash., with the Alternative Spring Break program. He is a member of the student advisory board for Oregon Campus Compact, mentors at a local middle school and is a member of Greenfield, Linfield's environmental club. With a number of aspiring goals for the future, Lazar is reluctant to pinpoint only one, but says his liberal arts experience is preparing him for whatever direction he chooses.
Bruce Wilson '13 has learned that nursing isn't always about fixing the patient.
At the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing, he has learned that a nurse's role is to care for individuals, listen to what they are saying and consider the many aspects that can affect their health including cultural differences, adverse reactions to medications or family matters. "Nursing is more than fixing broken bones, stopping the bleeding and setting IVs," Wilson says. "Patients often cannot be fixed, but they can always be cared for."
Linfield's small classes means Wilson can easily be heard and get his questions answered. Nursing professors know who he is and give him their undivided attention when he meets with them. He's found the faculty knowledgeable, compassionate and approachable. As professional nurses, faculty members bring real world knowledge into the classroom, which gives students a more intimate view of nursing.
Wilson is a leader on the Portland Campus, serving as a student ambassador, peer mentor and peer mentor assistant. He is one of the co-founders of the Nursemen Club, organized to help erase the stigma of being a male nurse, to advance nursing as a field that welcomes both genders, and to advocate for the male population on the Portland Campus.