I’m happy to announce that at their October board meeting, Carleton’s trustees unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed the strategic plan for our College that is the end result of nearly two years of careful research and analysis and broad discussion and deliberation.
Carleton is fundamentally healthy and well run. Our College continues to deliver the top-quality liberal arts education that we promise to our students. We have strong and deep demand among prospective students, draw students of outstanding quality and exceptional faculty and staff members, and are blessed by loyal and generous alumni who recognize how their Carleton education and experience changed their lives for the better.
However, to preserve and enhance Carleton’s academic excellence and for Carleton to remain one of the best liberal arts colleges in the world, we cannot be complacent. We must be bold in the way we anticipate and embrace helpful changes.
Carleton’s strategic plan distills the best ideas and identifies the critical next steps we will take to bolster our current competitive position and ensure the College’s future success [see “Carleton: The Next Decade”]. We will prepare students more robustly for their postgraduate lives and careers; enhance our curriculum to improve liberal arts teaching and learning; strengthen the socioeconomic diversity of our student body; maintain a self-sustaining economy and growing endowment; make focused investments in facilities that advance our mission; and embrace collaborative opportunities with other institutions, including our neighbor, St. Olaf College, to improve our academic programs and student services and also to save costs.
I am excited about the strategic plan and the objectives it sets. And I am grateful for the hard work and creative thought that hundreds of Carleton faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, parents, and friends put into creating this important document. Everyone’s ideas helped strengthen this plan. My faith in Carleton as a place where people wrestle honestly with questions, with goodwill and commitment to a shared enterprise, was confirmed throughout the planning process. Repeatedly, we have seen a commitment to make tough decisions among possible choices and to set priorities that will drive the College forward. This makes me proud.
Of course, even more fulfilling than creating bold plans is bringing those plans to fruition. Having achieved consensus on our mission and goals, we now turn together to that task. With the 2014 budget, we’ll begin to direct money toward the priorities outlined in the plan. We are refining the ways we’ll measure how well we’re meeting the plan’s goals. We are seeking new leadership for the Career Center and building an even larger network of alumni and parents who will help connect and support our graduates. The Dean of the College, Bev Nagel, and her team are working with faculty and staff members on ways to enhance student advising. And starting in 2013, we shall begin work on a facilities master plan that will shape the future of the physical dimension of the Carleton campus.
A decade from now, we will have made Carleton stronger and more distinctive compared to our peers. We will have enhanced the life-changing value of a Carleton education and degree and shown the world that a liberal arts education truly is the most powerful investment and best launching pad for diverse and talented students from around the globe. Best of all, we will have bound our graduates even more tightly to their wonderful alma mater.