May 17, 2006
I am pleased to tell you that the 2006 report of the Committee on Mission and Priorities is now posted on the college Web site. The report marks the end of the first stage of our three-stage strategic planning process. Our goal this semester, you will recall, was to define a set of strategic planning directions that will serve as the basis of the plan that we will develop next year. The report describes those directions, articulates questions that we will seek to answer this coming fall, and lists sample strategies that have emerged in our campus discussions this spring. The report owes a great deal to those discussions, and I thank all of you who participated in them. The plan builds on the perceptions, insights, ambitions and visions that emerged from discussions with faculty, students, staff and alumnae.
Read "Re-imagining a Liberal Arts Education" (HTML version)
In the fall, we will move into a new stage of the planning process, in which we will develop initiatives and specific action plans for each of the planning directions. We will begin the fall with a set of round table discussions to develop and sharpen ideas centered on each of those directions. We would also like suggestions of other overarching topics on which a round table discussion would be pertinent and fruitful for the planning process. Please submit suggestions for such topics to me by June 16.
In addition to the round tables, we will provide opportunities for individuals and groups to submit ideas and observations through email and through postings on the planning Web site. We will also encourage people to collaborate with others informally to develop initiatives. By October 16, any individuals or groups wishing to submit a proposal should prepare a two page description. Proposals should specifically address one or more of the planning directions; they should be integrative in nature, and, if possible, they should make creative use of existing resources as well as new funding.
The Committee on Mission and Priorities and, when appropriate, the Committee on Academic Priorities, will review the proposals in the second half of the fall semester, creating work groups and subcommittees as needed. These groups would then carry out their work over the remainder of the fall and the January term, leading to a first draft of the planning document by early spring. Our goal is to complete the plan by March of 2007 -- a timetable that coincides nicely with our re-accreditation review.
I am very excited about this new stage of the process, in which our creative energies will be most fully engaged, and I look forward to this opportunity to work with you to shape Smith's future.
Carol T. Christ