Students smiling on a field

Themes and Objectives

Knowledge into Action is a strategic plan that strengthens collaboration and discovery in the institution and the world it shapes.

Knowledge into Action will embolden and fulfill what it means to go forth Grinnellian by:

  • empowering educational excellence in its connections to society
  • creating an environment of collaborative partnerships fostering student success
  • joining the promise of equal access to the experiences of equitable outcomes
  • building coalitions to amplify the voices and positive impact of Grinnellians in the world

while safeguarding the inter-generational equity of the institution and its enduring mission to serve the common good.

Summary of Themes and Objectives (PDF)

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Catalyst for Educational Excellence

Greater engagement with meaningful intellectual and developmental experiences for teaching and learning that equip individuals for positive change.


Potential actions for future implementation include:

1-1 Create interdisciplinary curricular and co-curricular opportunities to build small-scale courses and programs that engage big questions (e.g. energy, identity, health).

1-2 Integrate High Impact Practices (HIPs) into college-wide learning outcomes to assist with student developmental planning, advising, and institutional accountability for equity.

1-3 Expand Global Grinnell through global study opportunities, participation, and engagement.

1-4 Implement a program in Admission to attract and support coalition builders.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

2-1 Develop interdisciplinary connections across the faculty to build innovative curriculum possibilities that are relevant to students as they encounter the world now.

2-2 Design a program of teaching fellows to give faculty time and resources to devote to innovative teaching.

2-3 Consider the matter of the liberal arts across multiple disciplines, making institutional and multi-disciplinary connections between the Sciences, Humanities, and Social Studies.

2-4 Expand internal research development programming and software tools.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

3-1 Design opportunities for staff development to contribute to the College’s mission and learning outcomes.

3-2 Develop a leadership program for new and current staff members to develop leadership skills, experience, and cross-divisional and community knowledge.

3-3 Create a staff mentoring program.

3-4 Design developmental support for the staff that engage with teaching and classroom support.

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Belonging and Connection

More authentic and lasting connections with Grinnell and with each other in spaces and experiences that facilitate intellectual, experiential, and social communities.


Potential actions for future implementation include:

1-1 Reinvent a residential experience and student programming that provide tools and opportunities to build community, develop self-understanding, and establish collaborative relationships across difference.

1-2 Build a culture of recognition to celebrate positive contributions to campus and community.

1-3 Support and promote athletic identity, spectatorship, and participation across different types of events (competition, intramurals, recreation) within an institutional vision for athletic excellence to attract best qualified students who are competitive athletes.

1-4 Expand the Laurel Scholars program with a focus on highly qualified, historically excluded students in multiple cities.

1-5 Plan a library renovation for an academic commons/academic hub that brings together academic success partners in a student-centered space.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

2-1 Support opportunities for curricular and co-curricular unit collaborations led by faculty and staff for student programs.

2-2 Create clarity to start conversations between staff and faculty about how to experiment with and pilot ideas so that curriculum and programming remain dynamic in the face of changing student expectations, experiences, and identities.

2-3 Continue to increase visibility and voice of staff in institutional life.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

3-1 Work and create outreach to increase engagement of alumni of color and affinity groups.

3-2 Endow financial aid to support no loan program and other financial aid programs in perpetuity.

3-3 Evaluate existing programming that uplifts alumni/donor and student relationships and celebrate donors of financial aid and other scholarships and opportunities through expanded collaborations between Careers, Life, and Service (CLS), Development and Alumni Relations (DAR), and academic departments and centers (e.g., the Wilson Center, the Institute for Global Engagement).

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Collective Equity

More equitable thriving through valued lived experiences supported by collective actions that foster success and well-being for all identities.


Potential actions for future implementation include:

1-1 Expand the curriculum and programming to include classes and events that connect with multiple and intersecting identities.

1-2 Develop and invest in cultural centers and programming (e.g., Black Cultural Center, Disability Cultural Center).

1-3 Provide incentives to increase attraction and retention of diverse faculty and staff candidates with parallel focus on cultural/climate assessment and associated interventions to increase likelihood of recruitment and retention.

1-4 Build and strengthen relationships with local and regional indigenous groups, recruiting indigenous/native students.

1-5 Build identity-based peer mentoring programs for majors and concentrations.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

2-1 Build a shared understanding among campus constituents and leadership regarding the compatibility of data/cyber security and the academic mission of the College.

2-2 Continue to support restorative practices.

2-3 Redefine measures of success and examine rigor in the academic experience.

2-4 Explore employee wellness initiatives.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

3-1 Explore endowments for curricular and co-curricular programming based on alumni understanding of praxis work (theory-informed practice, knowledge into action).

3-2 Continue to develop financial aid policies that provide equitable access to a Grinnell education.

3-3 Focus on and develop sustainable and varied revenues streams.

3-3 Identify long-term ways to reduce endowment dependency – Reduce Endowment Dependency (RED Initiative).

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Shared Goals and Common Ground

Grinnell College is better known as a trusted partner and a destination for coalition building through living learning, and working across difference, in community and for the common good.


Potential actions for future implementation include:

1-1 Support community building programs and community dialogue, with Renfrow Hall as a focus and inspiration and the Civic Innovation Pavilion as a place to gather.

1-2 Continue to support community engagement coursework and course development, and recognition of this teaching in faculty portfolios.

1-3 Further develop Physical Education, Athletics & Recreation (PEAR) and the performing arts in Bucksbaum and other creative space, such as the MakerSpace downtown, to build community.

1-4 Reflect on and expand the ways the College fosters community partnerships on multiple scales: local, regional, statewide, and national, involving alumni and friends of the College.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

2-1 Expand existing structures and resources for coalition building, and community building across and within difference, building on restorative practices, community dialogue, and the spaces for dialogue and collaboration of Renfrow Hall.

2-2 Support a culture of pilot initiatives and timely assessment to promote creativity and collaboration for societal challenges.

2-3 Leverage coverage of Grinnell College National Poll and other work in public scholarship by national outlets to engage national conversations.

Potential actions for future implementation include:

3-1 Rethink the college landscape design and maintenance; foster a land ethic that centers biodiversity and sustainability and how the Grinnell community honors its debt to native peoples in the Midwest.

3-2 Bring together faculty, staff, and students around topics in environmental studies, engaging the Center for Prairie Studies and other campus partners to increase connections between the College and community partners and agricultural business and policy leaders.

3-3 Discuss and support indigenous stewardship, contingent on commitment to and interest from the Meskwaki Nation.

3-4 Explore a 1-year Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) post-baccalaureate program and/or scholar-in-residence program to support community outreach, environmental education, research, monitoring, and land management.

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