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Sept. 29, 2022: Update on Planning Together

Dear Colleagues,

My thanks to all of you for your hard work to create such a great start to the semester! It has been fantastic to see our students so actively engaged in their learning and lives across campus, supported by all of you. I’m writing with a quick update on our shared planning work for the year ahead.

You may have heard me mention in the open meetings on September 6th that we will be undertaking an update of our strategic priorities over the course of this year. The goal is to build from the great work that has been done already, seeking the best ways to meet our mission in this rapidly changing time. We look to inspire wonderful students to come to Whitman, to provide them excellent opportunities to learn, grow and thrive in an inclusive and welcoming environment, and to help them prepare for a strong launch after graduation and a life of purpose and impact.

Our existing strategic priorities were developed through a collaborative process in 2017-2018, and a great deal of progress has been made through dedicated work of many staff and faculty. You can see a summary of the priorities here.

Over the course of this year, we will assess what has already been accomplished, and where we may want to take new approaches or elevate our goals. We will also consider what is missing from the priorities that may be crucial in this new time. Today I write to share a bit about the process for this work, as everyone’s engagement will be valuable to shaping our future.

The process as a whole will be overseen by a steering committee which includes the faculty division chairs, the cabinet, staff members appointed through the Staff Advisory Committee and students selected by ASWC.

Beginning in October, the teams for each of the current strategic priorities will review what has been accomplished, what remains, and whether there are changes we want to make in initiatives or strategy. Each group will invite campus input. Below are the strategic priority areas, and the cabinet member who will be leading the discussions.

  • Access and Affordability - Peter Harvey and Adam Miller
  • Enhancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - John Johnson
  • Connecting to Life after Whitman - Alzada Tipton
  • Celebrating our Location - Gina Ohnstad
  • Innovating the Curriculum - Rebecca Hanrahan

In November, we will hold a variety of campus conversations to discuss additional key priorities that might need to be added to the current priorities. Please be on the lookout for dates for these discussions!

We will gather initial ideas this semester, and test and refine them through the spring to finalize a revised document before the end of the year.

In a time of such rapid change, the work we do here at Whitman is ever more important. I am grateful to be a part of it with you, and look forward to learning more about your ideas as we shape our plans for the years to come.

With warm wishes and many thanks,


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