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East Coasters discuss Skidmore's historic strengths and future challenges.  












At the turn of the new year,
Skidmore reached the halfway point in its Your Voice, Our Future series of town-hall meetings, starting in Boston in October and finishing in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Albany Capital District this winter. More than 400 alumni, parents, and friends have participated in this national conversation about the value of a Skidmore education and the crucial issues facing the College, from costs and access to assessment to career opportunities after graduation. These excerpts from follow-up surveys give a representative overview of the discussion that’s transpiring. To join in, click here.

SUSTAINABLE MODEL?
“I’m curious to know what is the next sustainable model for higher education, if rising tuitions are no longer sustainable. I understand that three-year bachelor’s programs have been suggested in higher education in general. For Skidmore, which has had so many creative ideas and discussions, this is interesting to me. I have always been impressed at how Skidmore operates, producing such a high-quality campus experience and high-value education for its students, on so little resources in comparison to so many other institutions.”

Your voice:
Register your opinions, suggestions, or warnings about this issue here.

“The bottom line is that potential students, and their parents, will focus on cost first and foremost. Given the practical pressures of questionable job security, little to no wage increases, and increasing taxes, most people have to look at education from a cost standpoint.”

“Skidmore needs to address its financial condition, specifically the endowment, which is relatively small. The college needs to offer need-blind admissions to effectively compete with the leading small liberal arts universities and to attract a truly diverse student body.”

“It seems to me that fundraising is the biggest challenge—keeping momentum in alumni giving and in major gifts. I think you’ve done a great job of reining in costs at least as well as your competitors.”

       
  
  















DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER

“Skidmore’s personalized education distinguishes it from larger schools with huge lecture halls of hundreds of students being graded by TAs. The focus at these places is on the information; at Skidmore it is on the individual growth of its students.”

“Students have the opportunity to explore, experiment, and interweave what might otherwise seem odd combinations of study. They can find true passion in any area of study and become critical thinkers and great problem-solvers through original avenues.”

“At all costs, keep the small classes and seminar-style learning.”

BEYOND CLASSROOM
“The more real-world experience Skidmore can provide, the better. It would be great to make an internship part of the core curriculum.”

“Encourage as many students as possible to study abroad.”

“A student population with competency in different cultures, languages, and ways of perceiving problems and solutions benefits the entire college community. Homogeneity leads to boredom and ritualized teaching methods; these do not happen at Skidmore.”

“Increase the sense of community and volunteerism so students learn the value of giving back to our society.”

LANDING A JOB
“Strengthen career services and the alumni network so students can translate what they’ve learned at Skidmore into actual jobs.”

“There are many opportunities to link with the business grads more overtly than just by job-shadowing. A relationship needs to be developed and maintained with alumni as resources for the career development of current students. Often we are contacting alumni too late in the game—they need to be wooed the same way they are for fundraising.”

“As a parent of one graduate and one current student, I do believe Skidmore does much to prepare its students to be genuinely marketable. This is due primarily to the top-notch faculty: professors who instill in their students a lifelong love of learning through incredible teaching and mentoring.”