Planning Steering Committee discusses strategic plan

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April 23, 2010

5:02 AM

The Planning Steering Committee held a discussion with students regarding the College of William and Mary’s strategic plan Tuesday. The discussion was led by the committee’s co-chairs, Provost Michael Halleran and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Jim Golden.

The Planning Steering Committee is responsible for outlining and updating the College’s strategic plan for the next five years. Each year, the five-year plan is revised and shifted forward.

The strategic plan has outlined six challenges, which include establishing the College as a leader of liberal arts universities, supporting a more diverse community, developing a more engaging campus experience, developing a better financial model, providing a proper infrastructure for a 21st century university and promoting the College through a more effective communication strategy.

In the meeting, Halleran and Golden outlined each aspect of the plan and opened up each for discussion.

“In parts of this country, there is a fundamental misconception that a liberal arts education is an impractical education,” Halleran said. “We want to make sure that, when you leave here, you have the fundamental skills to make a difference in the world.”

Halleran then reflected upon the structure of the College.

“We are a fascinating hybrid,” he said. “We are not a liberal arts college … but we are not a research university. In the public realm, there is literally no institution that looks like us.”

A student asked how the College would compete with other schools for socioeconomic, as well as ethnic, diversity.

“It is going to take some private fundraising,” Associate Provost for Enrollment Earl Granger ’92 M.Ed. ’98 said. “Alumni support is going to become much more critical.”

The committee is also looking to increase post-graduation relationships between the College and its alumni. But before that can happen, a collective identity must be established, Challenge Three co-chair and Alumni Association Executive Vice President Karen Cottrell ’66 M.Ed ’69 Ed.D ’84 said.

Cottrell pointed to the Triangle Retail Project, the Do One Thing campaign and the mascot search as ways that the College has attempted to involve more students this year.

Ways to encourage more students to involve themselves with student leadership was also discussed, as well as ways to get graduate students more connected with the College as a whole and ways to maintain the College’s position as a primarily residential university.

Challenge Four will deal with implementing a new financial model in order to assure that the College has enough resources to meet its aspirations. The College will also work to increase its efficiency and transparency efforts.

As part of this goal, the committee will look to increase annual undergraduate alumni donations, increase earned income from tuition, and develop new sources of income.

For transparency, the committee hopes to continue its mission by heightening collaboration between leadership boards and establishing a website on budget information, which would show resources and uses of funds.

The fifth challenge will deal with providing more administrative resources and building a more advanced infrastructure. Individual issues addressed include improving the Information Technology department, finding funds to renovate Tucker Hall and increasing sustainability efforts.

Challenge Six will focus on promoting the College through more effective communication.

This includes compiling an inventory of the College’s various marketing images and logos and attempting to distill a common identity.

The committee also hopes to increase communication through social networking sites.

“We’re trying our best to get our younger folks involved,” Golden said.

The discussion also concerned plans for the future.

“Next year, one of my goals is that we do less planning and more doing,” Halleran said.

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