Currently browsing posts authored by asenior

Follow asenior via RSS

← Previous PageNext Page →

Free University 2017 Course Catalog!

Hello Williams,


Hopefully everyone is settling into their Winter Study routines. College Council is excited to announce the course listing for Free University 2017! This is your chance to learn a new skill or activity, taught by fellow Williams students. Now is your chance to sign up and see what there is to learn.
Below are the classes for this year’s Free University. If you are interested in joining a class, please contact the instructor directly at their listed unix. They will organize with you and other interested students to arrange meeting times and locations. Class size is up to their discretion and many do have limits, so please only contact an instructor if you are serious about being active in the class.
If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact me. If you have questions about a specific class, you may direct them to the appropriate instructor.


Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Free University 2017 Courses
Ballroom Dance
Instructor: David Vascones (
Ever wanted to learn how to dance the foxtrot, waltz, salsa, and tango?  Learn these and MORE ballroom dances in a fun, casual atmosphere this Winter Study.  Beginners are especially welcome!

Read more


College Policy Regarding Marijuana

To the Williams Community,

As you may know, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot question in November that changes state law to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and over. That new law is due to take effect December 15, and it permits the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by people 21 and over and removes criminal penalties for such activities.

That ballot measure, however, doesn’t change federal law and doesn’t mean that Williams will now permit marijuana.

One might assume that with the new law the college would, in its policies and practices, treat marijuana much the same as alcohol. But we have a long-standing policy against illicit drug use on campus and within the college community, and the federal government still considers marijuana to be an illicit drug. The college must abide by federal laws, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. If we fail to comply, the college could become ineligible for federal funding and financial aid programs for students.

Given the scope of those federal laws, the college’s policies must therefore continue to disallow marijuana in our community.

That marijuana is still considered an illegal drug federally means it is prohibited for students entirely by our code of conduct, both on and off campus. That applies to students in off-campus housing, and it applies when students are engaged in college-sponsored activity away from campus. Also, it remains illegal—and against college policy—to send or receive marijuana through the mail.

College policy also prohibits faculty, staff, guests, and visitors from using, possessing, distributing, or being under the influence of marijuana while on campus or during college activities.

Throughout Massachusetts, officials at both the state and local levels are currently wrestling with many questions concerning the implementation of the ballot initiative and the conflict between state and federal laws concerning the legality of marijuana. In addition, we don’t yet know what the incoming administration in Washington might do with respect to federal enforcement policies concerning marijuana. We will keep you informed should any decisions or changes in policies by government agencies have implications for the college. In the meantime, if you have specific questions, I encourage you to reach out to any number of relevant offices, including the Dean’s Office, Campus Safety and Security, and Human Resources.


Adam Falk


[Williams College] Honor the Retirement of Prof. Bill Wootters

Greetings from Williamstown!

Saul Kassin with his memory book

I write to invite you to take part in a Williams initiative that we hope will be of interest to you. This is the second year we’ve invited alumni to share a memory of a retiring faculty member who impacted their Williams experience. Introduced as an important component of a broad engagement initiative calledPurple with Purpose, response to this program has been powerful in all the ways you might expect. Last year, the six retiring members of the Williams faculty each received a hardbound book of well-wishes and memories from alumni (more than 250 submissions to be exact).

This year, twelve Williams faculty members will retire, including William Wootters who has taught Physics at Williams since 1982.  As a former student of Professor Wootters or the Physics department, we invite you to share a specific memory or story of Professor Wootters’s impact on you. You can contribute your memory by submitting this form. Samples from last year are provided below.

Thanks in advance for considering a contribution; it will mean the world to Professor Wootters and your college.

Best wishes,

Brooks Foehl ‘88
Director of Alumni Relations

Here are a few selections from last year’s submissions:

“I still hold Professor Kassin as one of the best, most challenging mentors I’ve had in my life. He pushed me to deliver my very best work, in ways that I hadn’t experienced before (or since). I had so much respect for him… and I am so thankful for the time I got to work with him.” Katharine (Kami Neumann) Reagan ’96

“Professor Morgan was the first mathematics professor that really made me feel mathematics was a major I was capable of pursuing. Professor Morgan made teaching CONFIDENCE, not just mathematical CONTENT, a hallmark of his courses. In effect, he taught me more than my major; he helped mold my life. I’ll forever be grateful that he believed I could be successful and helped me believe in myself.” Kristin Grippi ’00

“I remember fondly [Professor Beaver’s] broad and deep intellect, passion for knowledge, and commitment to teaching. One could discern, behind the glimmer in his eye and barely concealed smirk on his face, that the history of ideas were for him a wellspring that continued to bring contentment and inspiration.” Gilles Heno-Coe ’10

We value your feedback!
Submit your comments here to let us know what you think about this and other Purple with Purpose initiatives.


Standing with Standing Rock

Dear Ephs,

I hope this email finds you well, in the last weeks before winter break. For many of us, this semester has been an especially long one—I write to both offer encouragement and a last word of solidarity.

As many of you know, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies are currently engaged in a struggle for water rights at Standing Rock, North Dakota. While many of us prepare for impending celebrations of heart and hearth, hundreds of water protectors persist in sub-zero temperatures and waning physical wellbeing, to ask the federal government and the corporate sponsors of the Dakota Access Pipeline to leave Sioux lands alone. This is a fight about water rights and sacred lands near Standing Rock, North Dakota, but more so, this is continuation of a centuries-old indigenous struggle for human rights. The Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted through Standing Rock because Bismarck’s residents, who are 90% white, feared it would poison their drinking water. Indigenous people are being forced at gunpoint to accept ecological risks that North Dakota’s white residents refused. Furthermore, the pipeline cuts through Standing Rock sacred lands and passes over indigenous graves.

Last week, 167 water protectors were injured, including Sophia Wilansky ‘16, a Williams graduate, who is facing potential amputation. The United Nations is currently investigating North Dakota law enforcement for human rights abuses.

Williams students, past and present, have already travelled to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with water protectors. Here on campus, Divest, the Davis Center, and the Zilkha Center (to name just a few) have organized donation drives and made phone calls to elected officials. They—and we—are working to educate each other about the violence occurring in North Dakota right now, as well as the centuries-long history of colonial violence against indigenous people in this country. We cannot forget that our very own Williams College was built on land stolen from the Mohican people.

Now I am asking you to take a stand. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling for influential organizations and individuals to stand with the water protectors, and we want to hear your voices. Please fill out this single question survey to let us know what you think: should Williams stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Your voices matter. These responses will help us better understand the desires of the student body, and serve you accordingly. As the Williams College mission statement reminds us, “an education at Williams should not be regarded as a privilege destined to create further privilege, but as a privilege that creates opportunities to serve society at large, and imposes the responsibility to do so.” The engagement and collective care demonstrated by the Williams student body, faculty, and staff in response to recent events have been vital to our continued thriving together. I hope I speak for many when I say that I am both humbled and grateful to share in this community with you.

Yours truly,

Suiyi Tang

VP of Community and Diversity, 2015-16


Announcing Free University 2017!

Hello Williams,

College Council is happy to announce the Free University 2017 Winter Study Program!
Free University was founded in the 1980s to promote the diversity of interests and ideas at Williams by organizing classes taught by students, for students. For the only time in your Williams career, grades don’t matter; there are no papers to write or tests to take. Free University gives you the chance to do something truly unique with your peers.
Past courses have included “A Smashing Time: Advanced Super Smash Bros. Theory, Strategy, and Technique”, “Bake It Till You Make It”, and “Twerk”.

This year we are also encouraging any clubs, teams, and student organizations to sign up. You can do either a full Free University program or a 2-hour evening workshop. This is a great way to get exposure for your organization for potentially interested students and a way to share what you’re passionate about with the general college body.

If you have any idea at all, teach a course! Free University is a great, no pressure space to share your talents and interests with the student body. If you are interested in teaching a course, please contact me (ajb7) with your idea by Monday (December 5th) at 11:59pm. Please include a course title and a short description. Funding and logistical support will be provided by College Council, if needed. Soon after, I will email the campus with a course listing and sign up information.
Please join in on a great Williams tradition!

Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs


Gaudino Scholar Appointment

To the Williams Community,

I am pleased to report that Susan Engel, senior lecturer in psychology and the Class of 1959 Director of the Program in Teaching, has agreed to serve as the college’s next Gaudino Scholar. Her two and a half year appointment to this post will begin January 1, 2018. Susan will be the 16th faculty member to hold this title. The position has been active since 1982 and is named for former political science professor Robert Gaudino. The Gaudino Scholar creates and promotes opportunities for experiential education and uncomfortable learning.

Susan will bring to this role her considerable expertise as a scholar of developmental psychology and education. Her areas of specialty include teaching and learning, the development of narrative and autobiographical memory, and the development of curiosity. Her most recent book, co-authored with her son, is titled A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student-Run High School and a New Vision for American Education.

For her Gaudino project Susan intends to explore the processes that lead to deep intellectual change, particularly among college students. She is especially interested in exploring how engaged conversations in the classroom and beyond promote the consideration of unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable points of view and, ultimately, influence how students form opinions and change their minds.

Susan will succeed Lois Banta, professor of biology, who has served in this role since July 2014. My thanks go to Susan and Lois for their willingness to serve the college in this capacity.


Adam Falk


Chief Communications Officer Appointment

To the Williams Community,

I’m delighted to announce that after a national search the college has appointed Jim Reische as Williams’ next chief communications officer. He’ll arrive in Williamstown and begin in his new role in early January.

Jim brings a wealth of experience and expertise in strategic communications, including five years as vice president for communications at Grinnell College, where he worked closely with President Raynard Kington and served as Grinnell’s first VP for communications, developing a staff of creative professionals and enhancing internal communications while helping to increase alumni and volunteer engagement and position the college nationally on issues of importance in higher education, including affordability and access.

He comes to Williams from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., where as chief communications officer he has, among other things, overseen the development of new admission marketing and communications strategies and the successful launch of a new website for the college.

Jim’s career in higher education began at the University of Michigan, where he served as a senior acquisitions editor and then executive editor of the University of Michigan Press. He then moved to the university’s development office, working as an editor and senior writer and then as assistant campaign director, helping to guide the strategic planning of the university’s $4 billion Victors for Michigan campaign.

Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Michigan, and master’s degrees in history and in Russian and East European area studies from Michigan and Harvard, respectively.

My sincere thanks go to the members of the search committee—Denise Buell, Liz Creighton, Lew Fisher, Brent Heeringa, Fred Puddester, and Danielle Gonzalez—for their dedicated work that has led us to this wonderful result, as well as to all those who participated in the interview process and who provided me with valuable input and perspective, including the terrific members of the communications office. And I’m especially grateful to Jim for his willingness and ability to get here so quickly, to ensure a smooth transition as outgoing chief communications officer Angela Schaeffer heads to her new role at Trinity College at the start of the new year.

I look forward to welcoming Jim and his wife Aimee to Williams and the community.


Adam Falk


Vigil for Sophia Wilansky ’16

​To the Williams community,

By now, many of us have learned the dreadful news that Sophia Wilansky, class of 2016, was severely injured ​while demonstrating as a water protector ​on Sunday night ​in connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota. Sophia is now undergoing a battery of surgeries on her left arm.

We invite you to join us tonight at 7:30pm as we gather in reflection and prayer for Sophia, her family, friends, and all those affected. As we focus our thoughts and prayers on her recovery and healing, our space this evening aims to link up with the wider circle of vigils being convened elsewhere nationally for Sophia during this period of intensive surgeries.

​We will assemble at the Matt Cole Reading Room, located on the first floor of the Class of 1966 ​Environmental Center (home to the Zilkha Center and CES).

​In peace and prayer, ​

Sharif A. Rosen
Muslim Chaplain /
Asst. Dir. for Community Engagement, Center for Learning in Action (CLiA)


Caring for Our Undocumented Students

To the Williams Community,

Caring for everyone in our community is what defines us at Williams. So it’s no surprise that in recent days a great many faculty, students, staff, and alumni have expressed worry about the possible effects of the incoming presidential administration on our most vulnerable populations, especially our undocumented students. Our community has come together to ask Williams and me, in particular, to do all we can to protect and support our undocumented students.

I assure you we will. The concern is a serious and well-founded one, given that we heard from the president-elect throughout the campaign that among his first actions as president would be to rescind many of the executive orders enacted by President Obama, including the one that established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program grants certain undocumented immigrants who arrived as children renewable two-year work permits and exemption from deportation.

At Williams, as at colleges and universities across the country, we are working to do all we can to support DACA students and prepare for what might come. The many petitions to create “sanctuary campuses,” including the one I received this week, reflect this broadly shared commitment to care for our students. The petitions vary in what they seek, but they are inspired by sanctuary cities, where local laws prevent police from asking about people’s immigration status and generally don’t use local resources to enforce federal immigration laws.

How that concept might apply to a private college isn’t clear, and how such a declaration might inadvertently harm our undocumented students is a deep concern of mine. This concern is shared by immigration law experts with whom we’re consulting, as well as by many other college presidents with whom I’ve spoken this week. We worry, for instance, about the possibility that the new administration might seek to deport first those students at campuses that announce publicly that they intend to shield their students in some way from federal authorities.

What we reaffirm now is that we will not release information about students’ immigration status unless compelled to do so by a court order or legal action. That’s our current practice, and we adhere to it strictly. Indeed, all confidential student information is similarly protected, as we abide faithfully by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Some of the sanctuary petitions and related activism have called on institutions to prevent federal authorities from entering campuses to enforce immigration policy. Legal counsel tells our peers and us that private colleges and universities do not have the ability to offer such absolute protection, and it would be a disservice to our students to promise what we can’t actually provide.

There are many things we’ve already been doing to protect and support our undocumented students. Indeed, many of the measures articulated in sanctuary petitions are standard practice at Williams. We welcome undocumented students, and we evaluate their applications in the domestic applicant pool under our need-blind admission policy. And we meet 100 percent of their demonstrated financial need—as we do for all students—providing them with additional grant money if they are not permitted to work in the U.S. (and therefore couldn’t fulfill a work-study requirement). We will continue to do all of this.

A number of staff members in the Dean’s Office and elsewhere provide support and guidance to undocumented and DACA students, including: Rosanna Reyes, who serves as the advisor to undocumented and DACA students; Ninah Pretto, who provides support and guidance on seeking legal advice and immigration assistance and helps students navigate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other resources; Tina Breakell, who supports and advises undocumented and DACA students interested in study-away opportunities; Michelle Shaw, who serves as the primary Career Center contact for undocumented and DACA students; Gary Caster, their primary contact for emotional and spiritual support through the Chaplain’s Office; and Molly Magavern and the entire Davis Center staff, who offer myriad support and resources to help all students, especially those from historically underrepresented and underserved groups, thrive at Williams.

Our most immediate concern is for our undocumented students. We also are worried about others in our community who may face an uncertain future with regard to immigration law, as well as those with undocumented family members. Staff in the Dean’s Office are caring for our undocumented and international students, and we are working with immigration law experts, peer institutions, and higher education associations not only to understand any potential policy changes and their effects, but also to do everything we can to prevent policy changes that would bring harm to our students and to promote policies that protect everyone in our community.

We are deeply committed to this work, and we ask you to do what you can as citizens to demand from our government that it continue to uphold our country’s fundamental values of equality and freedom.


Adam Falk


Advice and support: Friday’s the last day to switch a class to pass-fail or to withdraw

Dear Students,


As we make our way towards the final weeks of the semester, I’m writing to remind you about options that may be helpful, including support and also the pass-fail option for courses.  Please note that the deadline for changing a class to pass-fail is this Friday, November 18th.  That is also the deadline to withdraw from a class.
Read more


Student Support and Resources During a Challenging Time

Good Evening,

We understand that this is an uncertain and challenging time for our community and wanted to reiterate our support for the student body and our interest and investment in student safety.

We wanted to take the time to remind you of the resources available to us all during this difficult time:

1. Peer Health (Call-In-Walk-In hours Sun-Thurs from 7-10pm in Paresky 212)
2. Campus Safety (available 24/7 at 413-597-4444 and can direct you to other resources)
3. Davis Center
4. Chaplains
5. Deans
6. Psych Services
7. Office of Student Life
8. Student Groups/Peers
9. Additionally we want to make ourselves available as another resource for support. Please feel free to text, call, email, or stop us: Michelle (; (414) 793-5727); Caitlin (; (845) 803-6854).

Please contact any of these resources at any point. Also, please look out for one another—we’ve been so impressed by the student support being shown and hope to see that continue.

We also hope you’ll consider these two events tomorrow as well:

You Are Not Alone- This is an amazing evening of solidarity and support for students who have been impacted by issues affecting their emotional, psychological, or social well-being, organized by Mental Health Committee from 7-8:30 tomorrow in Goodrich. We highly encourage your attendance, as it is an incredible way for our community to show support for one another.

Open College Council Meeting w/ V.P. Klass and Dean Sandstrom- We had already planned for Dean Sandstrom and V.P. Klass to come to our meeting tomorrow, but as always our meetings are open, so if you have any questions, ideas or concerns, especially in light of recent events, we will be meeting with them both at 7:30pm in Hopkins 001 tomorrow evening.

We recognize these events unfortunately overlap, so please attend whatever feels most helpful for you at this time. If you don’t make it to the CC meeting, feel free to reach out to your class reps and the exec board, or attend our next meeting on Tuesday, 11/29.

Again, we are here as a resource as well, so feel free to reach out. Please take care of yourselves and look out for one another.


Michelle Bal & Caitlin Buckley
College Council Co-Presidents


student support

Dear Students,

We understand that news of this weekend’s vandalism in Griffin Hall has hit many of you hard, and that it was especially troubling for this to happen during what was already a very fraught and difficult time for many members of our community.

I am writing to remind you that the deans, chaplains, members of the Davis Center staff, as well as members of the Psychological Counseling Services are all available to support students at any time. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of these people if you’d like to talk or are concerned about the well being of a friend. We all stand ready to help.

All best,

Dean Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College


Vandalism in Griffin Hall

To the Williams Community,

We write to share with you news of a disturbing incident of vandalism that occurred over the weekend in Griffin Hall. The vandalism was discovered and reported to the Williamstown Police Department around noon on Saturday by a visitor to campus.

Police determined that the vandalism, while abhorrent, did not create an immediate danger, nor did it constitute a specific threat toward any individuals or groups. Had there been a confirmed threat to our community we would have communicated with you about it immediately. We worried–without any information about the intent behind the act of vandalism–about the impact of an immediate campus-wide notification on our community, including the possibility that it would cause fear. We thought it important and responsible to wait until we investigated further, in the hope we would soon have more complete information to share.

Here’s what we know. Sometime on Saturday morning, what appears to be a wood-stain type substance was splattered down the stairs inside Griffin from the top to the first floor. The visitor who reported it to police described the stain as looking like blood. In addition, “AMKKK KILL” was written on the wall along the stairs in red paint. The same paint was found on some posters on the bulletin board outside Griffin 3.

WPD and Campus Safety and Security began an investigation, and WPD has notified the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police. Both WPD and CSS have continued an active investigation ever since, with CSS interviewing more than 40 individuals.

This vandalism is disturbing and intolerable, no matter what motivated it. In the current post-election climate, we have a heightened awareness for any actions or expressions that may be bias incidents. So far it has not been determined that this vandalism was a bias incident, but we will inform you if that changes, and we hope to report to you soon that the responsible person or people have been identified. If you have any information that might aid the investigation, we urge you to call CSS at X4444.


Adam Falk, President
Leticia S.E. Haynes, VP for Institutional Diversity and Equity
Steve Klass, VP for Campus Life
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College


A Path Forward, Together

To the Williams Community,

Election night brought to a conclusion the most divisive American presidential campaign in recent memory. Many members of the Williams community, including—but not limited to—women; immigrants, both documented and not; people of color; Muslims, Jews, and other religious minorities; and LGBTQ people have felt directly and deeply the rhetoric of this campaign. The rhetoric was threatening and destructive both to the individuals at whom it was aimed and to our society’s most essential values.

Even before Election Day, there had been a deep worry—which I share—that the vitriol would continue beyond the campaign season. It is essential that we recommit ourselves today, as American society at large and as a Williams family here, to the fundamental respect and care for each other that underlie all healthy communities.

On the national, state, and local levels, this means engaging in politics, each of us working as hard as we can to ensure that the laws, policies, and practices of our government reflect concern for everyone in our world.

Here at Williams, it means renewing our commitment, as we should do every single day, to a fully inclusive, equitable community in which everyone can thrive. It means treating each other with deep respect, as we attend particularly to those who feel most vulnerable in this, or any, moment.

I’m inspired by the ways I see our community already seeking to unite this morning, and I’m reminded once more of the fundamental relevance of a Williams education. Our work—to educate global citizens who are informed and empowered to lead and who feel a responsibility to help create the community we all most fervently desire to live in—today seems more important than ever.


Adam Falk


In support of one another and our community

Dear Students, This election season has been one of the most fraught, divisive, and difficult in history, and has been challenging for all of us.  Many students (as well as faculty and staff) are feeling acutely upset, overwhelmed, and frightened this morning. Please take this opportunity to reach out to your classmates, to offer support, to be open to discussion, to be ready to listen, and to remind everyone you see on campus that our community stands ready to support all of us. In times of stress, one of the most helpful things we can do is come together and exchange our ideas, beliefs, fears, and plans for strategic action.  Please take the opportunity to do this, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Find ways to engage with each other, with faculty and staff, with your families and friends at home.  Above all, take good care of yourselves. In addition, there are many additional resources available to you, and I encourage you to use them.  Please come see us in the Dean’s Office, in the Davis Center, in the Chaplains Office, and in the Health Center.  We are here to talk, to problem solve, and to listen.  You don’t need to have a specific question or concern…..just a desire to connect and find support.  And if you are aware that a friend or classmate is struggling, please help them find their way to us.   All best wishes, Dean Sandstrom


All Day Today: Reflection and Conversation at The Davis Center

Good morning,


The Davis Center will be open throughout the day and evening to provide a space and place for reflecting, connecting and caring.  Members of the community should feel free to stop by at any time.  There will be food available.


Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes, Ph.D.

Vice President

Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Williams College | Williamstown, MA

(P) 413.597.4376


Call for Nominations for an Olmsted Prize

To the Class of 2017,

Did you have a teacher in high school who made a big difference in your life? Someone whose teaching inspired you and whose dedication helped you on your path? 

Now’s your chance to say thank you—with our help. Every year during Commencement Weekend, the college honors several teachers with the Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching. We bring the recipients to Williamstown and present them with the award and a $3,000 prize, and an additional $5,000 goes to each teacher’s school. They’re celebrated at a special dinner and during Ivy Exercises that weekend.

I can tell you that the teachers who receive these prizes are incredibly honored by the tributes from the students who’ve nominated them, and the weekend during which they’re celebrated stands out as one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. It’s also enormously meaningful for all of us on campus to meet and thank a few of the many devoted teachers whose work helped bring you to Williams. And as we do so, it’s a chance for Williams to honor teachers—and teaching—broadly and very publicly, on an occasion when the world is watching.

I write now to invite you to nominate a teacher who’s had a profound impact on your life. There’s more information—including guidelines and a nomination form—online. The deadline for submitting a nomination is Tuesday, January 3.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to participate in one of Williams’ most wonderful traditions. 


Adam Falk


November Lyceum on 11/15/2016

Dear fellow Ephs,

Hope your midterms season is winding down because…it’s time for the second Lyceum dinner of the year!

The Nutting Family cordially invites you to ask a professor or staff member (administration, chaplains, health services, Davis Center, campus life, CSS, facilities, dining services, etc.) to a partially subsidized, three-course meal at the Faculty Club for this special dinner. This Lyceum Dinner will be held at the Faculty House at 6:45 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 2016

Due to popular demand and to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, this dinner will be flexible in terms of how many people can be in each party. 1, 2, 3… up to 7 students may invite any ONE member of the faculty or staff to dinner. (We are trying this out still so things may revert in the future.)

Another important clarification: if selected to attend Lyceum, it WILL take away your meal swipe for dinner on 11/15/2016. That’s why we ask for your student ID’s on the registration form. Sorry for the confusion in the past and we hope this won’t deter you from signing up! The meal swipes help pay for a portion of dinner. The Nutting Fund pays for all of the faculty/staff guests’ Lyceum meals and for 1/2 of each Lyceum meal for students with meal plans. If you are a senior and not on a meal plan, don’t worry you can still attend! Just clarify on the form that you don’t have a meal plan and the Nutting Fund will also cover your meal!

Spaces are given on a first-come, first-served basis, with preferences given to:

1) those with parties of 4 (3 students and 1 faculty/staff)

2) those who have not yet attended a Lyceum dinner (still best chance for the class of 2020 out there yayy).

The entrée options for this dinner are:

-Salmon with maple-dijon glaze

-Chicken with sundried tomatoes and basil cream sauce

-Vegetable Strata

To register, please fill out the online form at:

As always, forward a confirmation email from your guest; your registration will not be considered until we receive the guest’s confirmation email.

The online registration form will close as soon as all spaces have been filled. If you have any questions, please email



Lyceum Coordinator


Pre-Registration is now open! It’s time to explore courses!

Greetings, Ephs!

Welcome to Spring 2017 Pre-Registration! This is an opportunity to think about all we can explore and learn in the upcoming semester.

It’s time to make the most of Your 32 courses.

Many of your professors and classmates––and even President Falk––have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32! You can hear their stories in this short video.

As you’re choosing courses for the spring, you may want to consider:

  1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule!
  2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with astronomy, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.
  3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a tutorial before? What about a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This spring could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format!

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration (and Halloween),
Jeffrey Rubel ‘17, Allegra Simon ‘18, and Alex Besser ’17

Committee on Educational Affairs and College Council

The Williams Honor Code

Dear Students,

As we begin the second half of the term, it seems like a good opportunity to remind everyone of our honor code and its importance.

The Williams Honor Code was created and is administered by students. It is meant to embody our shared values about the importance of academic honesty, and our commitment to abiding by a set of rules meant to insure that integrity.

And yet, in the midst of the semester, when students are feeling so many kinds of pressure, the temptation to cut corners, borrow work, or get help of a kind prohibited in a given course, can be overwhelming. We urge you to resist that temptation, even when you think it won’t be noticed, won’t cause any lasting damage, or will save you from a terrible or even failing grade. First, no grade is worth violating the trust of the community. Second, though you may think the chances of getting caught are slim, we can assure you that if you are reported to the committee and it is decided that you did indeed violate the honor code, the consequences are far worse than whatever grade you would have gotten on your own.

So please, as you launch into these next weeks of hard work, keep the honor code in mind. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in a given course, ask your professors. They expect such questions and are happy to have the chance to clarify their own specific rules for papers, projects and exams. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about a particular assignment or your workload in general, remember that there are many good avenues for getting help (your professor, the Dean’s Office, the MSRC, the Writing Workshop, and others). Please reach out to those resources rather than compromising your commitment to academic integrity.


Susan Engel, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Honor Committee
Walford Campbell ‘17, Student Chair of the Honor Committee
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College


2017 Spring Break Out Trip (BOT) application now open!

Dear Students,

All current Williams students are invited to apply to one of the ten Break Out Trips (spring break service trips) being offered for 2017! Read about the wide variety of trip options at, and apply online at application deadline is Sunday, November 13th

Each trip’s leaders will host an informal Q&A session this week for interested participants as follows (the full schedule is also available at

Monday, October 31st

  • 7:30-8:30pm - New York City Youth Outreach (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Global Medical Training – Dominican Republic (Paresky 207)

Tuesday, November 1st

  • 7-8pm - Ghana ThinkTank: Strengthening Cultural & Environmental Sustainability in Detroit (Paresky 207)
  • 7-8pm - Sustainable Nutrition in the Ecuadorian Amazon (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Teaching English in China (Paresky 207)

Wednesday, November 2nd

  • 5-6pm - Chaplains’ Interfaith Service Team – Tuscaloosa, AL (Paresky 205)
  • 7-8pm TEED (Technology, Environment, Education & Dance) Program – Ghana (Paresky 210)
  • 8:30-9:30pm - Meaningful Mystic (Paresky 210)

Thursday, November 3rd

  • 7-8pm - ServeUP – New Orleans (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Berkshire Break Out Trip (Paresky 210)
Please note that you may apply to only one trip as your primary selection.  Upon submitting the online application form, it will be sent automatically to the organizers of the trip you have selected.  The organizers may then reply back to you with some trip-specific follow-up questions.  Please respond to these questions within 24 hours.

Remember that you are not obligated at this time to make a full commitment, financial or otherwise, to the trip.  Upon notification of your acceptance to a trip later in November, you will have another full week before your commitment form is due, and until at least early 2017 before any payments are required.

Break Out, Williams!

Colin Ovitsky, on behalf of the Break Out Trip Committee:

Paula Consolini, Center for Learning in Action
Mike Evans, Zilkha Center
Ben Lamb, Student Life
Sharif Rosen, Chaplains’ Office
Rick Spalding, Chaplains’ Office
Nora Lee ’17
Megan Maher ’17

Halloween, Costumes, & Cultural Appropriation

Happy Halloween!

As you are aware​ from Dean Sandstrom’s email from earlier this month​, ​the holiday can present some challenges with costumes and cultural appropriation​​​.​ P​​​lease read the following information as something to think about with Halloween parties scheduled throughout the weekend.

If you are planning a costume, it’s worth noticing the ways in which costumes can be harmful if they mock or caricature a culture. Before you put on someone else’s culture as a costume or as a joke, think about how your costume might be experienced by someone from that culture, especially if individuals from the culture have been subject to racism or discrimination.

For “A Short Guide to Cultural Appropriation,” click on the attachment (it was developed by Rhon Manigault-Bryant, ​Associate Dean of the Faculty, ​Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty ​Affiliate in Religion). An excerpt:

Cultural appropriation is an aspect of human exchange that refers to the taking of someone else’s culture (expressions, dress, intellectual property, artifacts, knowledge, art forms, etc.) without “permission.” Cultural appropriation is very tricky to navigate as there are fine lines between attributing “ownership,” showing one’s appreciation for, and mocking or parodying another culture. The stakes are also heightened when aspects of culture are taken from minority groups or groups that have traditionally been oppressed or marginalized, and, as a result, those who take, borrow, or ‘exploit’ those aspects of culture benefit from them in terms of capital, power, prestige, and popularity. This benefit often occurs at the expense of the very group from which aspects of culture were appropriated.

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions​; ​staff at the Davis Center, Dean’s Office, Chaplains’ Office and Office of Student Life are all happy to help.

Wishing you a good, safe, and fun Halloween weekend.​ (And be sure to visit OSL on the 2nd floor of Paresky on Monday – we’ll have lots of treats to share!)​


Douglas J.B. Schiazza
Office of Student Life * Williams College
pronouns: he/him/his


Dean of Faculty Announcement

To the Williams Community,

I write to share with you news about the position of dean of faculty. As you know, Cluett Professor of Religion Denise K. Buell has served admirably as dean since July 2014. At its October meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a second full term for Denise, a term that will begin in July 2018. For the 2017-18 academic year, she will return to the faculty to take an earned sabbatical to work on a book project. During that period, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry Lee Park will serve as interim dean of faculty.

Lee has been a member of the Williams faculty since 1993, having earned a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a PhD from MIT. She is on leave this year, following two years of service as associate dean of faculty. Lee has served the college in many capacities during her time at Williams, most recently as chair of the Committee on Educational Policy and as a member of the Committee on Appointments and Promotions.

I’m deeply grateful to Lee for agreeing to serve in this interim role and to Denise for her readiness to return to the position upon the completion of her sabbatical. My thanks as well to the Faculty Steering Committee, with whom I consulted closely on these appointments. The willingness of faculty to serve in key roles in the administration is at the heart of our system of shared governance—a critical contributor to the enduring excellence of our college.


Adam Falk


Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Search Forum – Thursday, November 3 (7:30PM-8:30PM at Goodrich Hall)

To the Williams Community,

As you may have heard, the process of creating and hiring for the new position of Dean of Admission and Financial Aid is underway. To help inform how we communicate with and assess candidates for this newly created position, the search committee would like to seek input from the college student community as a whole. As a part of this process, we would like to share that there will be a public forum, which will take place at Goodrich Hall on November 3rd at 7:30-8:30pm.

Members of the committee will be on hand to listen to your comments and feedback, as well as answer any questions you may have. Hearing from as many people as possible will give us the fullest possible picture in making our decisions. We plan on this being a round-circle discussion. If you cannot make it but would still like to offer your thoughts/ask questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Bum Shik at bsk3 or in person around campus at any time.

Thank you for your participation and assistance in this process, which is of great importance to Williams now and in the future. We hope to see you there.

On behalf of the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Search Committee,
Bum Shik Kim, Class of 2019
Dukes Love, Provost and Professor of Economics


What’s new at the Career Center

A note from Don Kjelleren, Career Center Director

Welcome to the Williams Career Center’s inaugural Newsletter!

The semester is well underway, and the Career Center is in full gear. We offer a splendid array of opportunities for career exploration at Williams, and we hope students will take full advantage of them.

Our first issue opens with an invitation to the Fall Open House this Thursday, October 27th. We also recap our signature and newly-created autumn events: the Job and Internship Fair, the launch of Careers with Social Impact (CSI henceforth), and our First-Years initiative. It has been an incredibly stimulating semester, and we are only just beginning. In upcoming issues, you can expect a deeper dive into stories about our Williams students’ successes, events sponsored by the Center, and Career Community initiatives. We couldn’t be more excited!

Personally, it has been an extraordinary privilege and pleasure to work with the Williams community for the past 9 months. I can’t wait for the next!

Thanks for reading,

Career Center Fall Open House!
Thursday, October 27th, Mears House, 12:30 – 4pm

Enjoy cider donuts and other tasty treats while you learn about the resources we have to offer. The afternoon will feature specialized sessions to help you explore career areas specific to your interests, and career search strategy seminars. Learn more about the event and schedule here.

Read more


Halloween Celebrations

Dear Students,

I hope this email finds you all well, and that you are enjoying this beautiful beginning of fall. With fall comes the changing of leaves, crisp mornings, and of course, Halloween celebrations.

Halloween is traditionally a time for gathering with friends, donning costumes, slipping into a different persona for a few hours, and eating candy with wild abandon. There can be great joy in planning costumes, gatherings, and celebrations. In the midst of the excitement, however, students can lose sight of their usual sensitivity and good judgement about how their behavior will impact others. In particular, students sometimes choose costumes that misrepresent, marginalize, or poke fun at particular racial or cultural groups, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual identities, or other groups. Although students who choose these costumes often do not intend to offend anyone, their costumes can make others feel offended or marginalized.

If you are planning to dress-up for Halloween, or will be attending any social gatherings planned for the weekend, please think carefully about your costume. Williams is committed to being a supportive and safe community for all of its members. So please do be safe and thoughtful, and have fun in a way that doesn’t impinge on the fun of others.

All best wishes,

Dean Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
Phone: (413) 597-4261


A Call to Action

Hello Ephs,

We wanted to reach out to you all about an important upcoming event. As hopefully most of you know by now, the Board of Trustees will be on campus this upcoming weekend. They will be hosting an Open Forum for all students this Saturday from 1-2:30pm in Griffin 3. The aim of this event is to foster engagement between the student body and the Board of Trustees, and will allow opportunities for questions, storytelling, and listening. In sharing our personal experiences, we hope members of the Board will be able to better understand what Ephs need and want from our institution today.

This forum will be the first of three events hosted by the Board of Trustees for students this year. In order for CC to best represent you, we invite you to fill out this quick and anonymous survey. Additionally, you can find the Facebook event here.

In preparation for this event, we encourage you to think carefully about your time at Williams. This is a great opportunity for us to share our stories, and learn from one another about the issues and realities our classmates are facing. We urge all who are able to take this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Board and work towards positive and lasting change at Williams.

All the Best,

The College Council Executive Board

Michelle Bal and Caitlin Buckley
Alex Besser
VP for Academic Affairs
Ben Gips
VP for Student Affairs
Chetan Patel and Ava Anderson
VP for Student Organizations
Suiyi Tang
VP for Community and Diversity
Michael Rubel
VP for Communications
Web Farabow
Allegra Simon


what’s happening in the provost’s office

Dear Students,

I hope you’ve all had a great start to the fall semester. I know that this is a busy time for all, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know how excited I am to be starting my term as provost and to update you on some of the work going on in the Provost’s Office.

But first, what on earth does the provost actually do? Fundamentally, the provost is responsible for strategic planning and for allocating the resources of the college to advance our educational priorities. In practice, this means evaluating budget requests, taking part in discussions of current and proposed building projects, and generally making sure we’re making wise resource decisions in support of our mission. As an economist, this work is dear to my heart.

The provost is also responsible for eight critical functional areas of the college: the libraries, WCMA, the Science Center, OIT, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, admission, financial aid, and institutional research. These are all complex operations, and they are run by a talented and dynamic set of directors. It would take pages to provide even a thumbnail description of the full portfolio of activities across all of these areas, but it’s worth highlighting some the most visible and important changes that are currently taking place in these areas.
Read more


It’s Mountain Day!

The mountains call us
In their sun-dappled splendor.
Let’s get out and play!

Adam Falk
President and Professor
Williams College

From Scott Lewis, Director of the Outing Club:

Visit to see the list of hikes and on-campus events AND to check for any updates should the weather suddenly change!

A quick summary of the day:

10 a.m. – hike to Stone Hill for singing and donuts

11 a.m – 1 p.m. community picnic on Chapin Lawn
Administrative offices should consider closing for an hour to enjoy this campus-wide celebration.

12:30 p.m. – bus transportation to Stoney Ledge and Hopper trailheads (buses parked along Mission Park Drive behind Chapin Hall). Since the bus will not bring you directly to Stoney Ledge, please be prepared for changing weather and temperatures as you hike up AND down the mountain 2 miles each way. You should have hiking shoes for wet, muddy, slick terrain and bring a filled water bottle!

2:45 p.m. – performances by student groups, refreshments provided

4:45 p.m. – bus transportation from Stoney Ledge and Hopper trailheads to Mission Park Drive

Hope you can all seize the day and take a time out to be out!!


Notice of Availability – Williams College Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

To the Williams Community,

The College’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report was published on-line in September 2016 and can be viewed at –

The Annual Security Report discloses information concerning campus safety and security policies and procedures, as well as statistics regarding certain types of crimes reported to the campus and local law enforcement during the calendar year 2015.
This report includes:

Policies and procedures
Security awareness programs
Crime Prevention
Security of and access to College facilities
Campus Safety Authorities CSA
Possession, use and sale of alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs
Sex offenses and the sex offender registry
Violence Against Women Act VAWA
Reporting of crimes and emergencies
Emergency notification systems
Crime statistics for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015

The Annual Fire Safety Report includes:

Fire safety policies
Fire statistics for on-campus student residences 2013,2014 and 2015
Fire safety systems, alarm monitoring and sprinkler systems
Fire drills
Polices relating to portable electrical appliances
Evacuation procedures
Fire safety training

Together, these reports provide students, prospective students, employees, and prospective employees with key information regarding the security of the campus and surrounding areas, and ultimately, create a safer, more secure campus environment. To request a paper copy of the current Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, please contact our Associate Director for Clery Compliance and Training, Alison Warner at 413-597-4444 or by email at



[Editor — Permanent copy here (pdf).]


← Previous PageNext Page →

Currently browsing posts authored by asenior

Follow asenior via RSS