Last spring, I announced a series of discussions and conversations about the future of Carleton. We all recognize, of course, that we begin these discussions from a position of strength for the College. At this dynamic time of transition and change, however, having a shared vision for Carleton will allow us to focus our energies around common goals, and ensure that we are equally well prepared to be leaders in liberal arts education in the years to come.
Over the last six months, in informal lunches, formal presentations, and a variety of meetings with different groups and committees, we have invited members of the community to offer ideas on how we can make the College even stronger in the future than it is today. I am pleased to announce today the launch of Carleton 2033, a strategic planning process that will shape a strategic direction for Carleton over the coming decade.
Our exploration centers on three key themes that emerged in discussions across campus and beyond. First, how can we build an equitable community in which all members feel a sense of belonging and ownership? Second, how do we advance our understanding of what is meant by a robust, 21st century liberal arts education? Third, how can we expand Carleton’s reach to ensure that the extraordinary education that we offer is familiar and accessible to a wide range of students, families and communities?
Our goal is to work together as a community to build a vision for Carleton’s future that is comprehensive, generative and exciting. We will seek to define and pursue transformative change within our community, to assess external trends that may impact Carleton and to align our energies and purpose in the coming years. The Community Plan for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity will be a foundational piece of this exploration, which will also encompass the work of the Financial Aid Working Group and other projects already underway.
Knowing that every member of this dedicated community is already very busy, we have designed a flexible, multi-tiered approach that allows people to calibrate their participation according to their own level of interest and capacity. The planning structure will include a Coordinating Committee, three Task Forces, and a reliance wherever possible on existing groups, committees and student organizations to undertake focused discussion of specific topics. In addition to potential service on one of the task forces, or participation through current committees or organizations, other opportunities for engagement will include serving as a community advisor, attending open meetings, or submitting comments online. The resulting strategic direction will be infused into our structures and governance processes, so that implementation becomes an organic and intentional part of how we operate in the future.
I invite any faculty member, staff member, or student who would like to participate to use this form to identify your area of interest, submitting it by Monday, Oct. 17. I will be sending a memo to students next week outlining in more detail our plans to also reach out to various student groups for input and suggestions.
The timeline for this effort allows for the three task forces, which we expect to appoint within the next few weeks, to work throughout the academic year, sharing draft reports with the community before submitting them to the Coordinating Committee by the end of Spring Term 2023. We would plan to share and finalize a draft plan by early next fall, and seek approval from the Board of Trustees at its October 2023 meeting.
I hope that you’ll find time to take a look at our strategic planning website to learn more. I am excited to be launching this effort, and look forward to taking part in many stimulating and productive discussions in the months ahead.