21st Century Committee Report - 2002 Update
Carleton College has been well served by its two major priorities reports over the last fourteen years; "Navigating the Nineties" (1988) and "Carleton in the Twenty-First Century" (CTFC) (Spring, 1998). These reports have had a pivotal role in helping to shape the institution's path during these years. The "Introduction" to CTFC outlines the purpose of that document well: "The goal of this report, therefore, is to provide the College with a working document-a set of agenda items-that will permit us to focus our energies and resources confidently on areas of special importance during the early years of the twenty-first century."
The power of any such agenda items and the success of their implementation depend on several factors:
- the quality of the plan,
- the level of buy-in to the plan,
- adequate financial resources to implement the plan,
- the action on the plan, and
- the level of communication about the actions.
The first four of these factors are self-evident; the fifth is less so. However, in an institutional environment in which 25% of our students turn over each year and in which faculty turnover due to retirements and the frequency of leaves has increased markedly in recent years, this fifth factor is critical for the community's understanding of the College's agenda.
Neither of these reports was presented as a laundry list of items to be checked off as we proceeded through implementation. Indeed, as will be noted below, decisions were made not to implement certain recommendations of CTFC, just as a number of agenda items in "Navigating the Nineties" were deferred or abandoned. Time and external and internal change might make some recommendations irrelevant and make new priorities necessary. It would obviously be a mistake to become so wedded to the plan that responses to changing circumstances become impossible for the College. At the same time, many of the recommendations of CTFC have continued to set a major portion of the College's agenda over the past four years and will continue to do so in the immediate future. Moreover, in addition to widespread community participation in the creation of the original recommendations, the essence of those recommendations was strongly endorsed during the "visioning" retreat for Trustees, faculty, staff, and students held in February 2001.
What follows below, therefore, can be understood as a brief "progress report" on those major agenda items enumerated in the "Summary of Recommendations" in CTFC. As such, it does not attempt to treat every issue raised in CTFC or the details of even the major recommendations. Those details and the other issues raised in CFTC will continue, of course, to inform the agendas of College committees and divisions. Even so, perhaps this document can serve as the impetus for further discussion of the College's mid- and long-term goals.
Dean for Budget and Planning