April 21, 2022: Lessons from IDE Process to Shape Strategic Planning

21 April 2022
President Alison Byerly headshot dressed in Carleton colored rugby shirt

The release last Friday of the Community Plan for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity was an important milestone for the College. The completed plan represents the outcome of a long period of community reflection, discussion, and debate. It addresses many challenging issues, and in a community of this size, no doubt opinions will differ on specific strategies or approaches. But in early responses from many in the community, I have heard great appreciation for the fact that we now have a plan to guide us in our ongoing efforts to become a stronger community for every member.

As we begin to think about a comprehensive, College-wide strategic planning process, we will want to take the lessons we have learned from the IDE process and extend them into a broader consideration of how we can make Carleton as supportive and empowering an environment as possible for the faculty, staff, and students who live, work, and study here. Whatever specific goals we may set for the College, its future success will depend on our ability to refresh and sustain the intellectual community and shared sense of purpose that is the foundation of a Carleton education. The Carleton community draws its energy from the curiosity and commitment of learners and thinkers who feel fully engaged and supported. Finding ways to nourish that spirit in each member of the community will be an important dimension of our work together.

Last Friday felt like a step into a new phase for Carleton in another way as well: we were able to host a large group of admitted students, parents, and family on campus for the first time since 2019. As we all know, Carleton is a lovely campus that has to be seen to be fully appreciated, and the warmth of our community is more palpable in person than on Zoom sessions. Talking with many students and families over the course of the day, it was clear that being able to attend terrific classes in person, eat lunch with friendly students in the dining halls, meet with key staff in important offices, and talk with helpful faculty from a range of departments at the academic fair made for a more holistic and compelling experience. The morning dusting of snow on the ground did not seem to bother the students, even those from California or Hawaii.

I will admit that personally, I did avoid mentioning the hailstorm and sleet we saw earlier in the week. Some aspects of the Carleton experience students will have to discover for themselves!

Alison Byerly electronic signature in blue ink