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After a two-year process and a one-year pause for the pandemic, I’m pleased to share a near-final draft of the college’s strategic plan. I invite you to read the draft between now and the end of May. The Board of Trustees will vote on the final version at their June 2021 meeting.
As a reminder, a strategic plan defines a set of institutional priorities at a very high level. Ours seeks to maintain our excellence in the liberal arts by positioning future generations of students to thrive and lead in circumstances that will be quite different from those faced by their predecessors. We’ll need to prepare them for a world being shaped by epic challenges and movements: climate change; the fight against racism and for equality and justice; technological innovation and disruption; economic inequality and realignment; and trends both toward and away from globalization, among many others.
What kind of institution does Williams need to be, to excel at educating students for that future in our own distinctive way? What programs and capacities and resources will we need to put into place to create that institution? Williams has demonstrated a remarkable ability to evolve and excel through changing times and expectations while staying faithful to our core mission. I’m pleased to have a strategic plan that will guide us in the next stage of that evolution.
As you may recall, in Fall 2019 the members of eight working groups and three strategic initiatives collected community input via hundreds of meetings and events for faculty, staff, students, alumni, families and area residents, as well as an online comment form and via email. You can find details on the Strategic Planning website. The draft plan sets out a vision developed with the benefit of that input. As you read it, I encourage you to consider how we can translate it into operational terms in the years to come. That’s the work we’ll begin together in the 2021-22 academic year.
Provost Dukes Love and I will host a few small-group opportunities for people who’d like to ask questions about the plan or provide feedback before the Board vote. If you want to attend one, please register to signal your interest and the President’s Office will contact you about scheduling. Discussions of the plan will also be on the agenda for upcoming faculty and PAG meetings. We’ll then take the plan to the Board meeting, and publish the final version at the start of the Fall 2021 semester. I hope this schedule will allow many of you to take hard-earned time for yourselves this summer before we start the discussions next fall of what comes next.
I’m happy, after a long pandemic year, to start this gradual turn back to the work of planning for Williams’ future with you all.