Nov. 23, 2022: Strategic Update and Invitation
Dear Colleagues and Students,
I hope you are well in this week of pause in the academic calendar. I'm writing today with two purposes—to provide an update on our shared strategic work, and to invite your input.
In 2017, the Whitman College community collaborated to identify five top priorities for the college; increasing access and affordability, enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion, innovating the curriculum, connecting to life after Whitman, and celebrating our location. As the first step in our new strategic planning process, groups who have been leading work on each of these priorities have assessed our progress over the past five years. You can find brief summaries here, along with links to more detailed reports.
As you will see in the reports, staff, faculty and students across the college worked very hard and made big strides on every priority, despite extraordinary challenges such as the COVID pandemic. And, many alumni stepped forward to generously support new initiatives. That such great progress has been made is a huge credit to this extraordinary community. My deepest thanks to you all for doing so much to make our college ever stronger! We will continue our work to advance these important priorities for the future.
In the week of November 28, we will start the second phase of our planning process, inviting your ideas regarding possible new priorities. We will hold multiple open sessions for discussion, as well as an anonymous survey. Our plans will be strongest if many people bring ideas, and you are invited to do so in whatever way works best for you.
The discussions (which will be held at small tables) and the survey will focus on these two questions.
- Are there major new priorities that we should add to the existing five? If so, what would they be?
- How would your suggested additions contribute to accomplishing our mission, inspiring students to come to Whitman, and providing great opportunities for them to learn, grow, thrive and prepare for their futures?
As a reminder, here are the times for the sessions.
- Open discussions for faculty and staff, on Tuesday November 29 at 8:30–9:30 a.m., noon–1 p.m., and 4–5 p.m. in Baker Center.
- Open discussions for students on Monday, November 28 and Thursday, December 1 from 6–7 p.m. at Reid Coffeehouse.
- Faculty meeting, November 30 4–5 p.m. in Olin Auditorium (this discussion may be brief depending on other items on the meeting agenda).
- Open discussion for staff November 30, 11 a.m.–noon Baker Center
- Special Faculty Meeting, December 2, noon–1 p.m. in Baker Center
- A town hall on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism will also take place on November 30 at 6 p.m. in Reid basement, and will importantly inform our planning as well.
The Strategic Priorities Review Steering Committee will report out to the community to share a summary of emerging ideas for new priorities at the end of this semester, and conversations will continue in January and through the spring semester.
I look forward very much to working with all of the Whitman community as we shape our college’s future together!
With warm wishes and many thanks,