A Word from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Case Western Reserve University is a wonderful learning environment. The academic opportunities available to Case Western Reserve students are marked by their range and depth, and benefit from the rich cultural setting of University Circle. We all look forward to your participation as students, as newcomers to academic disciplines who ask questions and offer perspectives that challenge your classmates as well as your faculty, as research partners with the faculty, and as researchers and scholars in your own right. I urge you to sample broadly from the menu of curricular choices before you—pursuing current interests and experimenting with new disciplines. Be open to discovering new intellectual passions. They might lead you down career paths that you haven't considered or they might provide the context for new cultural and community engagements.

Case Western Reserve will challenge you intellectually, socially and culturally to broaden your horizons, to deepen your analytic skills, and to question your assumptions. Embrace those challenges! At times, this will be disconcerting. Things about which you were very sure may become less clear; you will be asked to work harder than you thought possible. You may make mistakes and be expected to recover, regroup, and move on. Don't despair. You will emerge from this experience with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to take on new challenges throughout your life.

Some advice to get you started:

First, as you choose your courses, look for a mix of large and small classes; a mix of classes that require different combinations of reading, paper-writing and other types of assignments; and a mix of familiar and unfamiliar topics. Be sure to begin work in the field that is your most likely choice of a major, but also experiment with a field that piques your curiosity and about which you know very little. Be open to discovering new intellectual interests, moving away from fields in which you find your interest waning, and revising your major and career plans.

Second, get to know your faculty. To be specific, set yourself the goal of getting to know at least one faculty member well each semester. Explore class topics in greater depth, share your broader interests, and learn what drew the faculty member to that field. Research has shown that students who get to know faculty members have a more satisfying college experience than students who don't form close relationships with the faculty. Case Western Reserve faculty members are eager to get to know students and to mentor them.

Third, don't be shy about seeking help. Expect to be challenged, but remember that the university is filled with people who are ready to help you. Consult regularly with your advisors, with your faculty, and with the deans in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Share with them your joys and frustrations and ask for their advice as you make immediate and long-term plans. Educational Services for Students, the Career Center, University Counseling Services, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and many other offices on campus want to help you succeed.

Fourth, supplement your courses with activities outside the classroom. Students who engage in co-curricular activities—athletics, community service, Greek life, artistic endeavors—are happier with their college experience, and (as long as they maintain an appropriate balance) they do better academically.

Finally, have fun with your classes. Choose courses on topics you enjoy. College should challenge you, but it shouldn't be a hazing process.

I am confident that Case Western Reserve will engage you, challenge you and prepare you well for the future. I am also confident in your ability to succeed here. I look forward to getting to know you and to following your successes at Case Western Reserve and in the future.

I wish you all the very best as you embark on this adventure.

Jeffrey Wolcowitz
Dean of Undergraduate Studies

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