Grinnell College Strategic Plan Presentation - DRAFT
September 15, 2004 I. Background A group of Faculty and others developed a statement of core values early in 1998 which we used as a base point for the strategic planning process. In 1999, the College began a process of developing a mission statement, which the faculty and the Board of Trustees formally adopted in 2001. The goal was not to alter in any dramatic fashion the core principles and purpose of the College. Rather, we re-affirmed them and attempted to articulate a collective sense of direction. Through each version of the draft mission statement, there has been agreement that Grinnell College is, essentially, a residential liberal arts college. We believe that our best academic experiences are a function of an intimate and active learning environment set in a residential community. The formal Strategic Planning Process began in 2002 and was intended to build upon the success of the mission statement and core values work in developing a definitive set of strategies (and tactics) to better achieve our mission over the next 5 to 10 years. Under the leadership of Mark Montgomery, the Planning Steering Committee spent the last two years developing, testing, and refining various possible strategies through focus groups, research and various other efforts. It formed subcommittees of faculty, students, and staff that focused on particular elements of Grinnell College (Re-emphasizing the liberal arts; improving diversity; improving the Grinnell experience for students, staff, and faculty; and rethinking tuition and financial aid policy). Each subcommittee produced a report, which included numerous recommendations and which served as the foundation for the Planning Steering Committee's final report, which can be found at: Strategic Planning Committee's Final Report to the Board of Trustees It was always understood that the Report was not, itself, a plan and that further work would be required to get a focused, realistic, and viable plan. The Report was referred to President Osgood by the Trustees. The document you are reading was prepared by Russell Osgood and is based on discussions with a number of tenured and untenured faculty, trustees, deans, and the members of the Executive Council. It relies upon the reports of the subcommittees and the Planning Steering Committee and focuses on achieving many of the significant institutional goals that emerged during the planning process. Not all recommendations of each of the four Committees are pursued; however, the major recommendations of the committees on re-emphasizing the liberal arts and improving diversity are all included below. The President will present this document to various groups, including any department or division that wishes it, and refine the plan further in response to comments until there is broad agreement on its content. II. Mission The last line of the Grinnell College Mission Statement states: The College aims to graduate women and men who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and abilities to serve the common good. III. Distinctive Academic Excellence: Positioning Statement Grinnell College excels at engaging intellectually curious students in rigorous inquiry-based learning. OR Grinnell College excels at engaging intellectually curious students in rigorous learning based on mentorship and inquiry. OR Grinnell College excels at mentoring intellectually curious students in rigorous inquiry-based learning. IV. Summary Strategies for the Next 5 Years
V. Strategies Spelled Out A. Strategy #1: Increase the reach and breadth of inquiry-based learning in our liberal arts curriculum. 1. Launch "expanding knowledge" initiative:
- Develop new ways to support faculty interested in collaboration and exploration of new areas of knowledge, considering such options as team-teaching, faculty-to- faculty tutorials, reading groups, and curricular development in new knowledge areas.
- Consider models for faculty appointments that cross departmental boundaries, including possibly attaching them to concentrations or other non-departmental academic groupings.
- Establish programs allowing experienced faculty to teach outside their disciplines to develop and expand their professional horizons.
- Maximize innovation and effectiveness of new, existing, and reconfigured concentrations, centers, and programs.
2. Reduce reliance on temporary faculty. 3. Emphasize integrative and capstone opportunities. 4. Strengthen relationships among the local, national, and international aspects of the curriculum. 5. Continue to build on the strengths of our location as a laboratory for learning. B. Strategy #2: Increase student and faculty sense of ambition, adventure, and well- being. 1. Strengthen opportunities for, and celebrate, achievement inside and outside of the classroom. 2. Increase opportunities for rigorous inquiry-based learning. 3. Improve recreation and travel opportunities. 4. Enhance programs to prepare students for life after Grinnell (such as loan forgiveness, CDO, and internships). 5. Complete current facilities program and plan for future campus needs, including library and ITS. 6. Enhance the community. (See Strategy #5.) 7. Explore creative faculty work-credit options to support faculty achievement. C. Strategy #3: Increase the diversity of the campus community and the curriculum. 1. Emphasize the educational benefits of a diverse campus community. 2. Enhance recruitment and retention of students of color. 3. Enrich the applicant pool for faculty and staff positions. 4. Emphasize new areas of knowledge and new connections among existing areas in our curriculum. D. Strategy #4: Make Grinnell College's comprehensive fee/financial aid more appealing to families/students and consistent with encouraging free choice after graduation. 1. Reduce student loans as a part of financial aid. 2. Reconfigure aid packages to appeal to families and to be realistic about collateral costs. 3. Require work to trigger loan forgiveness. 4. Reconfigure international student admission and aid to better reflect the financial needs of international students. 5. Study efficacy of merit aid and make appropriate recommendations. (Long term objective: reduce merit aid while maintaining/enhancing the quality of the student body.) 6. Move to a more generous methodology for determining financial need. E. Strategy #5: Improve the vitality of the City of Grinnell. 1. Support initiatives that enhance the local quality of life. 2. Invest in and encourage the retail sector of Grinnell. 3. Work with the community to foster population and economic growth. 4. Encourage more housing opportunities. 5. Continue to support and extend excellence of the school district. 6. Work to match valuable skills and experience represented by faculty/staff spouses and partners to professional needs and opportunities in our community. F. Strategy #6: Improve the public profile of a) Grinnell College, b) Grinnellians, and c) the value of a Grinnell education. 1. Articulate more clearly and prominently our distinctive academic qualities. 2. Enhance our web presence. 3. Increase our presence in key recruiting markets and national and regional media. 4. Enhance programs to attract more people to visit campus. 5. Promote distinctive strengths: develop a list of programs/areas in which we have succeeded such as student-faculty research, academic advising system, and leadership in using technology to enhance teaching and learning. G. Strategy # 7: Improve fiscal balance and stability of the College. 1. Implement a comprehensive fee policy that provides the resources necessary to realize this strategic plan and reflects marketplace realities. 2. Increase over several years on-campus student population to 1500. 3. Financial commitment to support the proposed programs through responsible use of the endowment combined with increasing support from other revenue sources. 4. Maintain market competitive faculty and staff salaries. 5. Focus on increasing the percentage of alumni and friend giving and size of average gift. VII. Costing out the Strategies and Measuring Progress - As a part of finalizing the strategies, we need to accurately project their costs, ensure that we can afford them, and then model future budgets accordingly. When we have final strategies, we will also need to develop an assessment/measurement program. APPENDICES Present College Program A. The Goals of Inquiry-Based Learning at Grinnell I. Collaborative, discovery-based learning prepares students for a lifetime of exploration and accomplishment. II. Learning by doing promotes personal inquiry. III. Broad-gauged education prepares students to discover connections among ideas, to question received wisdom, and to find solutions to problems that cross disciplinary boundaries. IV. Advising, mentoring, and student life programs challenge students to better understand themselves and their aspirations as they explore how to contribute to their communities and lead responsible, fulfilling lives. V. Engaging with our community helps students explore the relevance of their learning to places they will live. VI. Contributing to the world and its peoples helps students discover how to think globally, exercise leadership, and effect change. B. Features of Inquiry-Based Learning at Grinnell I. Collaborative, Inquiry-Based Learning
II. Learning by Doing
III. Broad-Gauged Education
IV. Advising, Mentoring, & Student Life
V. Engaging With Our Community
VI. Contributing to the World and its Peoples