Monday, October 27, 2008

5-Year Strategic Plan

I submitted feedback for the 5-Year Strategic Plan. I mostly said that a bunch of the ideas would lead to more yuppies and therefore it was bad. Here is the Plan if you want to read it

Strategic Plan Priorities Related to Mission Goals

Draft of January 30, 2008

Academic Excellence

At the core of the College’s identity is its commitment to providing academic excellence in the education of an undergraduate student population. As our mission states, we achieve this excellence through strong interactions between faculty, staff and students, small classes, experiential learning, and close student-faculty collaborations. Hence, of highest priority for our strategic planning are all issues related to the new core curriculum and mentoring that enhance teaching and learning activities. Accordingly, strategic planning must prioritize the allocation of funds in areas most critical to the College’s core mission.


Support all components of the new core curriculum.

Identify and address needs within academic programs for additional faculty and staff

Identify and address needs within academic programs for additional equipment and other material resources

Support student and faculty research activities.

Optimize management of programs of international education

Variety of Educational, Cultural, and Recreational Experiences

Educational programs and activities outside of the regular academic curriculum enrich the learning experiences of students and can provide services that respond to the needs of the community outside of the college. SMCM provides a considerable number of educational opportunities outside of, yet related to, its regular academic curriculum. These include international education, community service, internships, continuing education, partnership programs, and the Center for the Study of Democracy. The related educational programs and activities that are offered by SMCM respond to institutional and/or community needs, are consistent with the mission and goals of the College, and through partnership programs enrich the curriculum by providing learning experiences not otherwise available at a small liberal arts college


Provide access to opportunities on and off campus to engage students, faculty, and staff in a broad range of cultural and educational experiences

Support recreational and athletic opportunities

[Revision Coming] Intentionally create an environment both in and out of the classroom where students learn and use their knowledge and expertise

Global Engagement

The College is committed to expanding our community’s global engagement. With increasingly interconnected economies, communications, knowledge, technology, and environmental systems across the globe, a college dedicated to the liberal arts has a responsibility to provide deep and meaningful opportunities for its members to prepare to participate in the global community and to develop the disposition to do so. We believe that the study of the liberal arts cannot occur in a vacuum and so seek to both promote wide and equitable participation in study abroad experiences, and to bring the world to the campus by encouraging international students and scholars to come to St.Mary’s.

At the same time, we believe that our connection to the physical world must be grounded in a commitment to environmental stewardship, which involves recognizing and acting on the knowledge that our everyday consumption of resources and interactions with the globe affect not only our immediate environment but that of the planet as a whole. As an institution, our practices and operations must be consonant with these values and our educational endeavors must foster students’ abilities to live in the world in sustainable ways.


Ensure individual needs and circumstances of all students are met so they can fulfill the core curriculum goals related to experiencing the liberal arts in the world

Increase global awareness by providing diverse campus-based experiences that bring the world to our community.

Be a model green campus that promotes sustainability.

Student-Faculty Interactions

As an institution we are committed to strengthening student-faculty interactions through smaller class sizes and through close collaborations between students and other students, between students and faculty, between students and professional staff. Demands such as participation in athletics, peer advising and mentoring, effective classroom work and out-of-classroom study and preparation, committee work, supporting campus activities such as Nitze talks, and other campus commitments are an increasing drain on the time of students, staff and faculty. In this context where every person amongst students, faculty, and staff has an increasing roster of responsibilities, the time required for close collaborations is condensed into fewer and fewer hours each week.

The new core curriculum offers both danger and opportunity. The danger is that as faculty re-train themselves to think more creatively about class design, including design of first year seminars, their days become so full that interaction with students on a one-to-one basis becomes compressed into fewer hours. The core curriculum’s addition of a component requiring students to use their knowledge in practical ways off campus, which will likely result in increased numbers of students completing independent studies and internships may further strain our ability to foster close collaboration even while the requirement mandates such connections. Faculty are growing so busy that adding another independent study student to their load may become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. In such a context, many may feel that they cannot take the time to go to a student athletic event or to participate in a student-staff-faculty event. The opportunities offered by the core curriculum, however, are great. First year seminars introduce beginning students to professors in a very small class context, fostering their willingness and ability to communicate one-on-one with their professors. Broader connections across the curriculum will encourage more team-teaching across disciplines, and students may be inspired to work more closely with faculty in all areas creating their own cross-disciplinary studies.


Foster meaningful student/faculty interaction

Accessibility, Affordability, and Diversity

As an institution we are committed to enhancing accessibility, affordability, and diversity among our entire campus community. Accessibility and affordability are pre-requisites to a diverse campus. Every member of the faculty, staff, and student bodies plays a role in making progress towards a more diverse and representative campus population. In order to maintain a diverse campus, our climate on campus must welcome and support diverse populations that vary in politics, ethnicity, race, and philosophy. Supporting the needs of diverse populations may require further education: education of staff and faculty – for example, in supporting the needs of young parents – and education of students – for example, in engaging in the ideals of community respect and inclusiveness.


Enhance accessibility, affordability and diversity

Develop new revenue sources that are both consistent with the college mission and will help achieve institutional goals.

Provide professional development to faculty and staff that supports the needs of a diverse student population.

Intentionally develop and promote a campus climate through programs and initiatives designed to not only attract and retain a diverse group of faculty and staff, but also to support, appreciate and celebrate diversity, in all its forms.

Community Built on Respect

At St. Mary’s College, we believe that a cohesive community should share a sense of mission and a commitment to strive toward common goals. Individuals within such a community should embrace the mission, and at the same time appreciate and respect each others’ differences. The recent growth of the College has increased stress and reduced the opportunities for communication across campus. At the same time, financial constraints have limited our ability to adequately recognize everyone’s contributions. This lack of cohesion is unhealthy and inefficient. Valuing the dignity of everyone’s work and improving the sense of respect and mutual responsibility among the students, faculty, staff, administration, and board of trustees will create the open, cohesive community we desire. As a result, we will see improved morale, increased productivity, greater respect for the campus and its surroundings, and higher retention of both students and employees.


Create a community which values differences of all types (class, ethnicity, nationality, religious belief, sexuality, age, etc.)

Promote an environment of open and respectful dialogue in which campus issues are identified and addressed

Develop ways for conducting difficult conversations

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