Strategic Academic Initiatives

Call for Proposals

Williams College has a national reputation for excellence across broad areas of its curriculum, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Nevertheless, there are always opportunities for increased investment in areas of emerging interest or comparative strength. As part of the process of launching the strategic planning process, the Coordinating Committee for Strategic Planning is soliciting ideas that substantially reimagine an existing area of strength or respond to evolving definitions of a liberal arts education in the 21st century. This is a chance to “think big” about programs and investments that will have a magnified impact on our students, inspire new knowledge and creativity, and deepen our connections to the wider world.

Recognizing that the number of growth opportunities will likely exceed the resources required to fund all of them, the Committee is soliciting ideas from the broader campus community. We will add these to our pool for consideration, with the goal of ultimately choosing three or four high-impact ideas that can be incorporated into the college’s strategic plan, allowing us to develop growth opportunities that seem especially promising or urgent.

As a first step, the Coordinating Committee is inviting initial, two-page proposals from groups of faculty and staff, laying out possible strategic academic initiatives. Successful proposals will think beyond a single department or program and build on strengths already present on our campus. In evaluating proposals the Coordinating Committee will consider the following questions:

  • How would increased investment in the proposed area support the broader mission of a liberal arts education?
  • What kind of investments in people, operating expenses, and structures would be required to make this vision a success?
  • What would it take to become a national leader in the specified  area among our liberal arts college peers?
  • Are there particular examples of past successes (or failures) in relevant areas that might inform our own approach? Who would be the natural partners for such an effort on campus, in our community, and beyond?
  • How would we define and measure the success of your idea?

Once the Coordinating Committee has selected proposals, we will engage with each project’s natural collaborators to further refine a  plan. Ideally, that plan will articulate specific goals, resource needs, and timelines that conform to the college’s larger strategic plan. A final selection of three or four proposals will then be folded into the broader strategic planning process.

Two-page draft proposals are due by March 8 and should be sent to Provost Dukes Love at [email protected].