Last Thursday, three weeks after my official start as dean of the College at Sweet Briar, it happened: the first day of classes. It was my first time experiencing it here at Sweet Briar. I am so excited for what the semester has in store for the students!
I remember the excitement of that first day of classes as a student. Putting eyes on the professor for the first time (we didn’t have websites with pictures back then), getting the syllabus and those first assignments, and even planning how I was going to walk from class to class was so exciting. It really reflects the opportunity that college and the beginning of each semester holds.
Here at Sweet Briar, that excitement is felt by everyone — from the people who so carefully tend our grounds, to the faculty who are teaching your classes, to the staff in our dining services, who I know put extra careful attention to those first-day-of-class offerings.
Our curriculum has so much to offer. Our 3-week session includes a course called Special Topics in Art History, in which students will spend one week in Paris looking at the work of women French impressionists such as Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzales, to name just a couple. Sweet Briar women are engaging with the world!
In the 12-week session, when students usually take up to four courses, the offerings are broad and diverse, with dynamic faculty teaching classes such as STEM in Society — one of our CORE courses — Forensic Psychology or Theatre Technology and Design.
As the Dean of the College, I am excited to be teaching a course in our 3-week session to help students brush up and polish their math skills to succeed in our 12-week introductory science courses. While our students come in with superb math skills, the application of those skills to science courses can be tricky sometimes. I want to be sure that all our young women are set up for success!
This desire to support student success permeates all that we do here at Sweet Briar. All of our faculty are committed to that with every student they teach. They hold office hours for students and also make individual appointments if that time doesn’t work. They frequently eat lunch with students, too, and are always happy to offer advice — even long after students graduate! We have writing tutors, as well as peer tutors in eight subject areas that are available through the Academic Resource Center (ARC), plus peer academic mentors (PAMs) who work with students one-on-one to perfect study skills and time management. They also help them navigate campus resources. In short: All of us are here to support students in becoming amazing women of consequence in the world!
As for me, I plan on soaking in this first part of the semester. You’ll see me around campus, in the dining hall and at as many events as I can make it to. Please don’t hesitate to stop me and introduce yourself! I can’t wait to meet you.
P.S.: Please check your inbox for an email from me on walk-in office hours. My door is always open!
To learn more about academics at Sweet Briar, visit sbc.edu/academics.
Teresa Garrett is dean of the College and vice president of academic affairs at Sweet Briar. She comes to us from Vassar College, where she was associate dean and taught chemistry for many years. She enjoys bicycling, swimming and exploring Sweet Briar with her husband, Chris, and dog Daisy.