Self-reflection is one of the most important factors influencing individual growth. in order for a person to feel confident in the notions of identity, purpose, and values, one mus question the elements that comprise each factor. New experiences provide a context in which the self is both realize and affirmed, and this examination, this sense of questioning, becomes the vehicle for personal development.
One of the most important factors influencing individual growth is self-reflection. In order for a person to feel self-assured in the notions of identity, purpose, and values, one must question the elements that comprise each factor. New experiences provide a context in which the self is both realized and affirmed, and this self-examination, this sense of questioning, becomes the vehicle for personal development. This year has taught me that Hopkins is alive and fully invested in the process of self-reflection; and like an individual, the first step towards institutional growth is the ability to ask the questions about its identity, purpose, and values. In Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin writes, “It is really quite impossible to be affirmative about anything which one refuses to question; one is doomed to remain inarticulate about anything which one hasn’t, by an act of imagination, made one’s own.” In this, Baldwin highlights the importance of self-reflection and notes that one is, in essence, unable to take ownership of an entity that has not been questioned.
This fall and winter, the faculty, staff, and trustees participated in a series discussions focused on recognizing the questions we should be asking as a school, and exploring methods to answer them. This spring, the students, parents, and alumni will participate in similar exercises. In order for the School to figure out how we can be better, to both address the areas that need attention and enhance the notable strengths of our profile, it is imperative for us to conduct a comprehensive, 360 degree inquiry. This process and the data it yields will inform a strategic plan we will use to guide our efforts in the future.
Our connections with the people of the school and our place within the history of Hopkins gives us the strength we need to listen to each other, lean into discomfort when necessary, and digest the essential inquiry into who we are, what we value, what makes us distinctive, and how we can continue to improve. While the experiences vary, the constant is the collective appreciation for the people of Hopkins. We are a school where different interests are accepted and celebrated. Intellectual curiosity is the fabric that holds us together, and the relationships between the students, faculty, and staff create an environment where everyone finds a place to learn and be known. The process of institutional reflection permits us to affirm our sense of community and our identity. The quality of the people that make this place special will serve as the foundation for our evolution as a school.
As we move forward, we will continue to work towards more curricular balance, pedagogical depth, and systemic innovation in our program. We will continue to cultivate an inclusive community that welcomes people from all backgrounds, cultures, and identities. Furthermore, we will continue to focus on character development and work to expand our awareness on student wellness. This vision for the future of Hopkins is a shared enterprise. We imagine together; and, as Baldwin offers, our imagination of what Hopkins can be will be owned by all of us. With gratitude, I think of every member of this community as I guide our school in its essential efforts to inspire minds, change lives, and realize the promise of Hopkins.