Summary of Distinctiveness Ideas Submitted via the Strategic Planning Process — Fall 2011
Suggestions: Better define the identity, mission, and programming at Grinnell and move forward with confidence. Build on Grinnell’s assets that will not change (location) and make space for scholarship (faculty research, visiting scholars) that will advance Grinnell as a groundbreaking institution. Use existing prizes and/or develop new partnerships that will brand Grinnell as an institution for social justice. This summary was primarily informed by faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
Perception of Grinnell College
- Engaged; community that is visible and exciting
- Trying too hard; instead, be confident in collegiate/communal identity and build on assets
- Prestigious; large endowment
- Accepting, inclusive, liberal
Campus climate; what to change
- Turn focus inward on deeper relationships with campus community where all are valued.
- Be bolder — on the cutting edge — as innovators; be curious, committed, justice-minded.
- Cultivate a more positive atmosphere; encourage civility.
- Define Grinnell’s identity, mission, and programming; then embody its claims.
- Reinterpret old and new trends on campus for current identity (liberal arts, social justice).
- Enhance the perception of Iowa; build on Iowa’s assets (e.g., community garden).
- Do not let Grinnell overexpand; the Grinnell experience is in its size.
- Endeavor for progress in thought and action, but make the College accessible; offer a superior education affordably.
Enrichment and interaction
- Implement an annual, schoolwide research theme addressing an issue of global significance.
- Build “Institute for Social Justice” and a new building for the Center for International Studies.
- Develop research emphasis for faculty; invite scholars to temporarily teach and/or research.
- Increase the transparency of our leadership.
- Cultivate shared experiences between faculty and students; strengthen our community.
- Provide student and staff access to nearby cities through shuttle services (e.g., Chicago).
Curriculum and classroom
- Maintain a healthy class size.
- Make curriculum nationally visible; build from global wisdom with global impact.
- Aim admissions initiatives around our distinctiveness in the classroom (e.g., Russian).
- Offer preparation for business in place of outdated antibusiness, antiestablishment approaches.
- Bridge the liberal arts education with life skills; offer applied liberal arts programs.
- Relaunch a focus on local foods and food justice (capitalize on our location).
- Develop feedback loops to challenge and enhance the experience of all on campus.
- Promote a culture in which the College builds rather than buys
- Become the official sponsor of a scholarly program (e.g., New Books Network).
- Adopt a strong “green” initiative; make each building achieve “net zero” energy status.
- Make the Liberal Arts in Prison better known; strengthen this distinctive endeavor.
- Strengthen “The Grinnell Prize” (with this name) — allow this prize to brand the College.