Rachel VanSickle-Ward, Professor of Political Studies

Rachel VanSickle-Ward, professor of political studies and a Pitzer alum, talks about how student engagement and leadership is a central part of a Pitzer education. Working together with students, fall 2020 is a powerful opportunity to think innovatively and creatively.

Hi, my name is Rachel VanSickle-Ward. I’m a Professor of Political Studies at Pitzer. So in addition to being a professor, I’m also an alum. And when I think about this moment at Pitzer, there are a couple things that are really central to me. One is the role that students play in a Pitzer education. We are constantly mindful of student engagement and student leadership in what a Pitzer education is. And one thing I’m really excited to see in this difficult time is that those voices have continued to play such a role. And I think as we’re developing our curriculum and thinking about what our classes look like, student voices in that conversation are so central and will continue to be so central. I also am extremely enthusiastic about how Pitzer thinks outside the box. That’s what we’ve always done and so in a moment of challenge such as this, thinking about innovation and creativity is something we do naturally, and something that we bring to the classroom experience and something that we rise to the occasion for. And so in thinking about what the fall looks like, in addition to the struggles and challenges that are very real, I’m also constantly aware of the potential for a deeply meaningful educational experience. And I’ve been so thrilled to watch my colleagues and talk to students who are really engaged in that conversation and excited about working together to make fall 2020 an incredibly powerful moment and incredibly powerful opportunity.