Ada Comstock Program

15Jun10

There has been conversation for a while now regarding potential cuts to the Ada Comstock Program at Smith. We’re not 100% what the result will be, but we thought we’d share this Study Report (linked through the Ada Class blog) that touches on the issue. In spring 2009, President Christ commissioned a group to “identify ways to ensure a stable and vibrant future for a program that is highly valued at Smith, but which is viewed as financially unsustainable because of the need for large levels of financial support for almost all of the current and prospective Ada Comstock Scholars.”

The group producing the report was made up of Adas, professors, and college deans. The report identifies “recommendations that will ensure the long-term health and sustainability for a program with a distinctive mission and history at Smith College.” It states:

At the core of our recommendations, strengthened by our conversations with many Ada Comstock Scholars during the year, is our affirmation of the value of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program (ACSP) to Smith College. The ACSP is a shining example of Smith’s mission to “educate women of promise for lives of distinction”, especially because it does so for women for whom a top-ranked liberal arts college may seem out of reach. While there have been many additions to the field of adult education since the ACSP was founded in 1975, especially in the many offerings from weekend colleges, evening colleges, and on-line courses, the opportunity to continue a liberal arts education at a residential college remains a rare privilege, and one for which all of the current students we interviewed expressed deep gratitude.

It’s worth your while to read the entire report; it’s quite interesting and thorough. We don’t know if there continue to be plans to cut or reduce the program, but we are glad that this group was commissioned and that the report is so unilaterally supportive of the program.

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