Dear Scripps and Pitzer Board of Trustees, As alumni and current students we are incredibly grateful for the experiences we have had at Keck. It is because of these experiences that many of us are concerned for the future of the department upon hearing that Claremont McKenna will be leaving Keck. Although Keck has struggled with funding since its founding, many of us were able to thrive due to the student-focused atmosphere and the dedication of our professors. While we know those aspects will never change, we are concerned that Claremont McKenna’s withdrawal from the department will exacerbate the already significant funding problems. Many students had problems getting into both introductory and upper division science classes for their major due to both lack of classroom and lab space. Many classes, especially introductory classes, lack the small intimate classroom setting that students were promised when they chose to attend a small liberal arts college. Other students have expressed concern over the high turnover rate of visiting faculty, which left them without letters of recommendation for future career opportunities and graduate studies. We are concerned that the issues we faced as students will escalate as the colleges grow. Both Pitzer and Scripps use the research and academic achievements of their STEM students to attract prospective students. Consequently, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students who express interest in the sciences. However, we have not seen a comparable increase in resources to support this influx of students. Funding was the root cause of many of the issues we faced as students. We implore you to rectify these issues for current students by: 1. Committing to your promise of building a new science facility.
2. Adding more classrooms and teaching labs within the Keck facilities in order to foster a stronger science community.
3.Hiring more tenure-track faculty.
4. Adding a career advisor who can help science students with graduate school applications, postbaccalaureate opportunities, and setting up networking opportunities for students. Scripps and Pitzer have their own career centers; however, information given by these centers often contradicts advice from those in the field and can even be detrimental to a student’s career prospects.
5. Adding another pre-health advisor. The high influx of pre-health students leaves the single pre-health advisor overworked and unable to fulfill the needs of these students.
6. Establishing a Keck-specific alumni network. Institutional support is key to maintaining a strong network of connections for graduates and current students. We understand that there are alumni networks within individual schools; however, these are insufficient for a field where networking and collaboration are crucial to success. We also ask that faculty who leave Keck be given the opportunity to join this network. This will allow students to request letters of recommendation from professors who are no longer within the department and facilitate networking opportunities.
7. Involving professors and students in future plans for the department. The faculty at Keck are nothing short of excellent and integral to the success of the department and of the students it serves. We would like assurances that none of our faculty will be redistributed to the new CMC science department. We recommend an the implementation of a “future directions” committee composed of both faculty and students.
8. Collaborating with the other science departments within the consortium. Many students come to the 5C’s for the benefits of a consortium, but thus far those benefits have never come to fruition in STEM. The schools were built to work with and support one another, not to be five stand-alone colleges competing with one another. We now have this unprecedented opportunity to grow as a community and foster greater connections with the 5C STEM community. However, this is only going to be possible if Scripps and Pitzer commit to providing the necessary funding to address the growing insufficiencies. We ask that you follow through on these recommendations so that Keck can continue to be a pillar of academic success. Sincerely, Supporting Claremont Alumni and Students **The following alumni/current students have expressed that they will only be directly and exclusively donating to Keck, until we feel these issues are being sufficiently resolved.