Katherine Haley Will

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Katherine Haley Will
13th President of Gettysburg College
Term 2004 – 2008
Predecessor Gordon A. Haaland
Successor Janet Morgan Riggs
Alma mater Tufts University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Profession Professor

Katherine Haley Will served as the 13th president (and first woman in the position) of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from 2004 until 2008, when she stepped down for family reasons. She also served as chair of the Annapolis Group. She was succeeded as president by Janet Morgan Riggs, former provost and a member of the college's Class of 1977.

Background

Will received her B.A. degree from Tufts University and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Career

Will was provost and professor of English at Kenyon College, as well as dean of graduate study and director of general education at Augustana College.1 In 1999, she became the 13th President (and first woman in the position) of Whittier College.2 She joined Gettysburg College as president in 2004 and became chair of the Annapolis Group (an organization which represents over 100 liberal arts colleges) in 2007. On March 25, 2008, she announced her resignation from Gettysburg College, effective at the end of the 2007-2008 academic year.3

Annapolis Group statement on college rankings

Will formerly chaired the Annapolis Group. On 19 June 2007, during its annual meeting members discussed a letter which was sent to college presidents asking them not to participate in the U.S. News and World Report reputational survey portion of the annual rankings survey. As a result, "a majority of the approximately 80 presidents at the meeting said that they did not intend to participate in the U.S. News reputational rankings in the future."4 However, the decision to fill out the reputational survey or not will be left up to each individual college as: "the Annapolis Group is not a legislative body and any decision about participating in the US News rankings rests with the individual institutions."5

The statement also said that its members "have agreed to participate in the development of an alternative common format that presents information about their colleges for students and their families to use in the college search process."5 This database will be web based and developed in conjunction with higher education organizations including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Will discussed this decision further in a 9 July 2007 article for The Washington Post. In this article, Will states that this decision was not based upon "a lack of concern about providing accurate, comprehensive information to help students and their families make decisions about college." Rather, she argued against the methodology of the U.S. News rankings. In particular, she argues against "the largest single factor in the U.S. News rating formula" which is the reputational survey as, "it is unrealistic to expect academic officials to know enough about hundreds of institutions to fairly evaluate the quality of their programs." Will then argues that, "by contrast, 1 percent of the U.S. News ratings formula is assigned to student-to-faculty ratios, which many faculty members and students consider the most important factor in educational experience." Will states that the members of the Annapolis Group will offer the same information in an alternative, free, format which will not rank schools, as, "an educational experience can't be reduced to one number, a school's so-called rank. The simplicity of a rank is understandably more appealing than spending hours poring over college catalogues and visiting campuses, but myriad complex variables can't be reduced to a single number." Instead, Will asks students and parents to "compare schools on a variety of factors [...] they should visit campuses and go on what feels like a good match rather than relying on filtered or secondhand information. We must encourage students to look inside their hearts and trust their instincts when it comes to choosing a college, not whether parents or friends think a university is cool or prestigious."6

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External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Gordon A. Haaland
President of Gettysburg College
2004–2008
Succeeded by
Janet Morgan Riggs







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