New Paltz Faculty and Staff:
I am pleased to announce that I have accepted a final version of the Strategic Plan. Last year’s consultative process to develop the plan has helped fulfill one of the principles of the planning process – to develop a plan that reflects a community sense of where we have been and where we are heading. This plan will guide and inform our work during the next five years, focusing on how we can most improve as an educational institution and with a clear focus on our students and their success. The final plan, attached above, has evolved from the plan developed by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and shared with you in draft form during the spring semester. The committee heard and responded to the considerable feedback and suggestions for refining and strengthening the plan, resulting in the final draft presented for my consideration. I again thank members of the committee for the thoughtful and thorough work this past year in guiding the development of this plan.
With the work of the Steering Committee completed, I am forming a Strategic Planning Council that will guide and advise on implementation of the plan. The Council will report to me, and will have a primary role in developing metrics and benchmarks for assessing our progress on each of the major initiatives, monitoring and measuring progress, and advising me and the Cabinet on priority action items. The Council will also assist unit leaders (deans, directors, chairs) in coordinating work on initiatives that involve multiple departments, offices, or programs. The Council will be expected to reach out to others on campus for input on metrics, advice on campus-level actions that advance strategic initiatives, and other aspects of its work.
We are forming a separate “Middle States 2021” Committee that will ensure that we are progressing appropriately toward our 2016 Periodic Review and our next reaccreditation review in 2021. Much of the evidence and data collected to assess our progress on strategic plan goals will be relevant to Middle States. Indeed, evidence of progress on achieving goals of the plan should provide a compelling basis for our next Middle States self-study. The Strategic Planning Council will serve as a liaison to the Middle States Committee to ensure that such data are shared appropriately, so that they can be aligned with Middle States standards.
This summer, the Strategic Planning Council, in consultation with the Wonk group and others, will:
- identify initial action items;
- work to implement priority administrative actions that emerged in our budget process and that align with goals of the plan; and
- integrate into the plan administrative actions that are either already in progress or “in queue” based on other planning efforts.
To be clear, these will be at most a subset of the actions that will advance the plan. I will share these ideas in my August State of the College address, along with broader directions for plan implementation. Other action items, including those that are primarily in the faculty domain, will be identified during the fall; we will add additional academic faculty to the Council then.
Initial members of the Council, which includes some members from the Strategic Plan Steering Committee in an effort to have some continuity in planning, are:
- L. David Eaton, Vice President for Enrollment Management
- Dan Freedman, Dean of Science and Engineering
- Stacie Nunes, Chair, Physics and Astronomy
- Ray Schwarz, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (Chair)
- Patricia Sullivan, Director, Honors Program
- Stella Turk, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Lucy Walker, Sr. Research Analyst/Interim Asst. Vice President, Institutional Research and Planning
- Shelly Wright, Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for Communication
I have asked Dr. Schwarz to chair the Council because of his broad experience with academic and student life areas of the College, his demonstrated leadership capabilities, and his extensive experience with assessment, as exemplified during our recent Middle States self-study process. Jackie Andrews, who retires as Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning at the end of this month, will continue on a part-time basis for several months to share her expertise and experience in the development of metrics and benchmarks.
I am grateful to all members of the College community who contributed to the development of this plan by participating in interviews, the planning retreat, and open forums, and by providing input and ideas that have improved the plan.
I look forward to working with you on initiatives and actions during the coming years to make our great college even better.
Donald P. Christian