Introduction to 21st Century Report
At the end of the supplement to Navigating The Nineties, the report created by the Committee on Priorities for the 1990s, is a section titled "Beyond the Nineties: Buck Rogers and the Twenty-First Century: One anonymous Committee Member's Musings." In this brief addendum, that person states:
Are there no limits to the ability of the small liberal arts college to keep up? Can Carleton indefinitely add to its library resources, its laboratory equipment, its faculty positions, its office spaces, its ...? Can it do any or all of these things and not lose its special character? On the other hand, can Carleton afford not to keep up? Will an institution that does not teach the fields as currently understood, that does not possess the equipment, the people, the space to offer a near-cutting edge education, will such an institution be able to hold out against the large university, public or
Welcome to the twenty-first century. The questions of how to sustain and enhance Carleton's position in the world of higher education so clearly anticipated ten years ago are upon us, and we wrestle with them in myriad ways.
In 1998 Carleton will complete its comprehensive campaign, "Assuring Excellence," undergo its once-a-decade reaccreditation review, and be ten years down the road from Navigating the Nineties, the last detailed look at the college and where we were headed. Even during stable and relatively certain times, it is wise for institutions to take stock periodically of their mission, assess the external realities that affect them, articulate their goals, and set a course for achieving those goals. This is such a time for Carleton. The accelerating rate of change taking place all around us generates numerous challenges and poses serious threats to all institutions of higher education, including Carleton. But at the same time, this state of flux presents opportunities, which, if seized, have the potential to make us even stronger.
With these thoughts in mind, President Lewis decided that the 1997-98 academic year would be an opportune time for Carleton to undertake such a study. Early in the fall he appointed a 19-person committee of faculty members, students, staff, and alumni-trustees to carry out the work and prepare a report with a set of recommendations by June 1998. The President's charge to the Committee, chaired by Professor of Geology and Associate Dean of the College Shelby Boardman, was to identify the most critical issues for the College during the next decade and develop a set of recommendations on how to deal with them. 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
A great deal has been accomplished in the ten years since the recommendations of Navigating the Nineties were presented to the College. Those recommendations were grouped into three areas: collegiality, faculty development, and physical facilities. Significant progress has been made in a majority of the collegiality and faculty development recommendations, and seven of the top eight building recommendations have been completed or are under way. The success of the Assuring Excellence Campaign has made many of these accomplishments possible.
Carleton currently is situated in a position of strength within academia. But complacency is the surest way to erode that strength. We need to think about the future, understand ourselves and the external pressures imposed on us, and maintain the flexibility to respond appropriately. It is important that we maintain the momentum generated during the Assuring Excellence Campaign and set to work on our new agenda as soon as possible. While urgency is perhaps too strong a word, we want to convey the importance of moving into the twenty-first century with a sense of immediacy and a determination to
address our needs.