As we head into the busy final weeks of Spring Term, it may seem difficult to look beyond comps presentations and Commencement preparations. Everyone is rightly focused on the work that goes into completing the term and celebrating the accomplishments of soon-to-be-graduates.
At the same time, the coming weeks provide an opportunity to look ahead, a chance for us to engage in some preliminary conversations about the themes that will inform next year’s strategic planning process. I hope that members of the community may enjoy a chance to think broadly about the future of the College.
Some of these conversations began with last month’s Faculty Meeting, CSA, College Council, and several staff leadership meetings, at which I outlined some preliminary ideas about how we might approach strategic planning. My goal is to create a process that is structured enough to capture a wide range of views, but flexible enough to allow for different groups and individuals to participate in different ways. Rather than assuming we need a large set of similar committees, I think we can approach the planning process with a range of working groups, task forces, and elected committees, with other members of the community serving in advisory capacities, or attending occasional meetings. I hope that involvement will not be limited to the opposing poles of intensive committee service for a few, or attendance at one or two open meetings for everyone else, but can instead be calibrated along a spectrum of levels of participation for many members of the community.
Over the remaining weeks of the term, we will invite faculty, staff, and students to take part in any one of several meetings and discussions that are intended to refine possible topics and themes. These will include some large open meetings, some smaller informal discussions, and meetings with some existing committees and leadership groups. A full schedule appears in the Leadership Notes below.
After gathering input, we will appoint a Steering Committee over the summer to outline a structure for undertaking this work. At the fall Faculty Retreat, and an open meeting for staff in September, we will discuss and finalize the structure and themes, so that we can appoint working groups and formally launch the planning process in the Fall Term.
Also in late May, we will hold an open meeting for the community to discuss the chief diversity officer position. The search committee, which will include faculty, staff, and students, will have an opportunity to gather input about the role and responsibilities proposed for this position.
I recognize that everyone has been working very hard throughout this eventful year, with much yet to be done as we move towards Commencement and Reunions. At the same time, I hope that those who are able to take a pause for these discussions will find them collegial and energizing. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.