In 2014 the Haslam Scholars Program began its seventh year, having graduated three impressive cohorts. In just a few short years, the Haslam Scholars Program has produced a Peace Corps volunteer, a Teach for America member, a Rhodes Scholar, and future doctors, lawyers, engineers, PhDs, accountants, teachers and many others of whom we are very proud.
We now enter a new phase in the life of the program. In our next seven years, we must transition from beginning a program to building a nationally recognized undergraduate scholars experience. With the arrival of Timothy Hulsey, the new associate provost, the Haslam Scholars Program had an opportunity to develop its own strategic plan. Developing this plan allowed us to examine our mission, our vision for the future, and our guiding principles. After collecting data from peer and aspirational peer scholars programs, examining the university’s strategic plan to become a Top 25 public research university, and reviewing our own program goals, we have decided that the best way to serve our students is to offer a distinctive set of experiences that cultivate a sense of community among the scholars while instilling a desire for lifelong learning and inquiry. Our mission is to foster intellectual curiosity and engage the moral sensibilities of scholars through curricular and cocurricular experiences. Our goal is to create life-changing experiences for all Haslam Scholars.
For incoming scholars we strengthened the core curriculum by designing courses that increase opportunities for reflective, critical, and independent thinking, as well as persuasive speaking and writing. We included a foreign language component, which, when combined with financial support for language and cultural immersion experiences, will allow students to engage actively with the world. We instituted a second-year paper requirement, which will help scholars get an earlier start on their thesis research, giving them both the luxury to be curious and a better appreciation for questioning and discovery.
We also had an opportunity to reflect on our core values–values, that define both the character and the culture of the program. These are:
Integrity. Haslam Scholars’ demonstrate integrity in their interactions with each other, staff, administration, and the broader community.
Diversity. Haslam Scholars embrace inclusiveness, serving as models of equity and fairness.
Social Justice. Haslam Scholars reflect a shared belief in equality and opportunity for all members of society and are committed to social justice for everyone.
Social Responsibility. Haslam Scholars acknowledge their obligation to others, their respective communities, and the global society.
Within this framework, we want our scholars to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the program. In return we expect scholars to stretch the boundaries of knowledge, to seek answers to the most pressing questions of our day, and to participate fully in creating and maintaining a dynamic community of learners.