Staff Editorial

In fall 2008, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Lawrence a $350,000 grant to fund the new Senior Experience program. Beginning with the class of 2012, the program will be required for all Lawrentians. Senior Experience is, along with Freshman Studies, meant to “bookend” the Lawrence academic career by engaging students in a project – which they must both plan and execute – that integrates experience gained in their fields of study with the rigors of academic research.
Freshman Studies provides students with a common foundation for their four or five years at Lawrence and the Senior Experience can parallel that by providing students with a chance to reconnect with their peers. Because students in every discipline will complete the Senior Experience, all seniors will go through the research and compositional processes simultaneously.
Although each discipline has its own requirements, the program as a whole encourages scholarly and/or artistic independence regardless of field of study. The Lawrence mission emphasizes individualized learning and we think the Senior Experience is a great step forward in realizing that ideal.
This new program necessitates a commitment to one’s major for a full four or five years. The intensification of expectations for seniors corresponds to the well-developed academic abilities they bring to their final year. Seniors are experienced researchers by this time and the Senior Experience showcases that effectively.
The director of this program will coordinate collaboration among academic departments for the fulfillment of student and faculty ambitions in academic and artistic pursuits. We support the appointment of Thomas Ryckman as the Senior Experience Director and feel he will manage this initiative in a manner consistent with the tenets of a liberal arts education at Lawrence.
This addition to the Lawrence curriculum acknowledges the accomplishments of seniors by recognizing that they have the resolve to carry out a significant project. We hope each student fully utilizes the opportunity provided by the Senior Experience to engage in the process of academia and leave a lasting impact on Lawrence.