The Board of Visitors strategic initiatives committee met Friday to discuss initiatives intended to better the College of William and Mary.
“Academic innovation at the College lags behind, and we need to explain what that means and define the board’s role in helping it,” BOV member Robert Scott said, “and we cannot go forward until a few preliminary questions are answered.”
The Strategic Initiatives Committee plays a vital role in the construction and upkeep of the university, deciding what projects need to be implemented. This meeting focused on how to revamp the image of the College.
“We can’t innovate without deciding where to target,” Scott said. “This should be a strategic planning process, and we should aspire to be the best. This will just be empty rhetoric unless we are prepared to support the idea more, because until we have the funding, it is better to be credible.”
The committee proposed many plans for the next five to six years, among which include the design for a new student residence building on campus, the construction of the third part of the Integrated Science Center, new software systems for business practices and the establishment of a Confucius School.
“We’re too often looking at the numbers. We can improve our ‘product’ by adding changes and improvements to the systems, by taking advantage of our combined skill sets,” BOV Timothy Dunn ’83 said.
On Dashboard, a program that compares certain aspects of the College to peer schools such as the University of Virginia, the College lags behind in raw test scores, the student to faculty ratio and a few other categories.
“We have to find better ways of building solid financial footing,” Vice Rector Charles Banks III said. “There is so much brainpower between Richmond and Jamestown Roads that we must be able to find more money and complete more research.”
In order to receive funding, raising tuition was an idea proposed, as well as simply asking the Virginia government for the $4.8 million the school would need to complete the proposed projects.
“Our reality is ahead of our perception,” BOV member Todd Stottlemyer ’85 said. “There are no short term fixes, and I urge you to consider who our customers are. We have lots of stakeholders, but the student is our customer. Center on that student in terms of how to attract more and how we can help maximize their academic success.”
No proposal was reached, although the topic will be addressed again in the December BOV meeting to narrow down exactly what kind of changes need to be made once the members have had the opportunity to speak to deans and boards from other colleges.