A Message from the President

I am passionate about how our students learn.

We know from research that an educational experience grounded in active and experiential learning impacts performance long after students graduate. The result of this educational approach is a lifetime of achievement and contribution whether in future jobs, careers, families, or service to community.

At SNC Tahoe, it all begins on the first day of CORE 101, a freshman experience designed to rapidly and deeply engage students and prepare them for our active learning environment. Immediately, they team-up to develop solutions to real-world challenges framed by visiting CEOs and Executive Directors from local businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Their sense of something larger than self is growing by the time they report back to these leaders with their recommendations. They have begun connecting with the larger community, at Project Mana, Bona Fide Books, St. Mary’s Art and Retreat Center in Virginia City, Tahoe Safe Alliance, or Adventure Risk Challenge. Later, as they develop their own innovative ideas and then work with a colleague on a collective effort, collaboration and partnership emerges. Sixteen weeks out, proudly presenting before poster boards, they have become a part of SNC Tahoe’s unique culture of competition and performance.

Over the course of four years, whether they are sharing original research at SNC’s Senior Symposium, the American Psychology Conference at Berkeley or the National Honors Conference; curating a solo art exhibition or winning a prize in a juried show; competing in a statewide business plan competition; or being part of a championship ski or lacrosse team – our students’ numerous and varied experiences build a capacity for resilience, poise, and grace under pressure.

Connection to the larger world grows as well. What began in CORE 101, is fueled by a service learning project in South Africa; an internship with the Sierra Angels, Tahoe’s venture capital group; a summer job with IT Convergence, a global enterprise services provider; or by leading a group of fellow students on a rigorous and challenging three-week trek into the canyons of Utah.

For our graduate students, the expectation of a commitment to community is every bit as powerful. In the Teacher Education Program, our Masters degree candidates develop implementable action plans for improving teaching in the classrooms of our local schools and our new graduate degree in Administration responds to the pressing statewide need to prepare the next generation of skilled school administrators. Students in the MFA in Creative Writing work with professional editors to prepare their manuscripts for publication; others work collaboratively with undergraduate colleagues to produce our nationally acclaimed Sierra Nevada Review. Across our graduate programs, our students are constantly pushing the real world impact of their work and scholarship.

This is only the faintest outline of what it means to be a student at Sierra Nevada College. For me, after nine years here and many years in academia, as well as for our immensely talented and committed faculty, it is a reminder of why we do what we do and why it matters so much. It gives a hint of the commitment that we all have towards student learning and the pride we feel in the accomplishments of each and every student. Both physically and educationally, this is indeed like no place on earth.

Shannon Beets

Interim President and Provost