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Building on a Great Beginning

Partners in Art

Teams from Babson and Wellesley created these bas-relief ceramic collages that depict various sustainability efforts on the two campuses. Stephanie Osser, who at the time was studio manager, instructor, and ceramic artist at Babson, led the effort by first applying for—and receiving—one of the Mellon Presidential Innovation Project Fund awards. She then helped both groups realize their visions. Created in the Babson College Ceramics Studio, the murals took three months to finish. Susanna Kroll ’14 designed the Babson mural (top photo), and student Caitlin Greenhill Caldrea designed Wellesley’s. But the projects were collaborative, with many students, faculty, and staff on both campuses contributing to their completion.

Photos: Ben Staples

Directorship of the Babson-Olin-Wellesley (BOW) Three-College Collaboration comes to Babson this summer as Janice Yellin, professor of art history, takes over the three-year rotating position from Adele Wolfson of Wellesley College.

Launched in 2009, the collaboration expands educational and cocurricular opportunities for students, facilitates faculty research, and shares strengths across campuses.

With such different strengths, the schools have a lot to offer each other, says Yellin, who sees alliances like this as the future of education. “There are economic, social, and intellectual reasons for this to work,” she says. “I don’t know of a collaboration where the schools are so fundamentally different in character. So the chance for them to create something greater than they might be able to do on their own, and for the students and faculty and staff to benefit, is going to be really interesting to explore.”

During its initial three years, BOW compiled an impressive list of accomplishments that went beyond hosting joint cultural events, connecting faculty, sharing facilities, and allowing for cross registration of courses. One of the more significant was the establishment of a Sustainability Certificate Program that draws on the business, engineering, and liberal arts expertise of the schools to teach students how to tackle environmental challenges and work toward more sustainable practices.

Professor Janice Yellin

Professor Janice Yellin
Photo: Webb Chappell

The colleges also developed a winter session program during which students from the three schools live together and team up to direct a project. And it established the Mellon Presidential Innovation Project Fund, awarding 12 grants to projects that furthered the collaboration and were proposed by students, faculty, and staff from the three schools (see “Partners in Art”).

At the first annual BOW retreat this June, attendees from all three colleges, including their presidents, shared ideas and initiatives for events, programs, and projects. “The retreat proved extremely productive. Everyone was excited and supportive,” says Yellin, who left the retreat feeling energized. “I can’t share details yet, but there’s a real chance to do some things new and innovative with the potential to have a real impact on the three campuses and beyond.” —Donna Coco