Planned Consultation Schedule for Draft Strategic Plan

College Council (March 7)
College’s Senior Leadership (WONK) (March 11)
Student Association and Residence Hall Student Association executive committees (March 19)
Marketing Council (March 19, 3:30 p.m.)
Classified Staff Meeting (Monday, April 1, at 9 a.m. in Student Union 100)
Budget, Goals and Plans Faculty Governance Committee (April 4, 3 p.m.)
Administrative Council (April 15)
Business Council (April 17, 7:30 am.)
Foundation Board (March 21)
Meetings open to all campus community members (Monday, April 1, at 3 p.m. in LC 100 and Tuesday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in LC 100)

Strategic Planning Update, Feb. 6

Dear Colleagues,

The strategic planning process is on schedule. Pat Sullivan and Stella Turk, committee co-chairs, circulated a series of plan drafts to committee members to seek feedback. We appreciate the dedicated work of committee members who reviewed and offered feedback on the draft during the semester break. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee met on Friday, February 1, to review the latest draft of the plan, discuss revisions, and plan next steps. Committee co-chairs will revise the draft plan to incorporate recommendations from the February 1 meeting. Later in February, a draft plan will be circulated to the campus community for review and feedback. Members of the campus community will be invited to attend open forums to discuss the plan.We look forward to sharing the draft plan with members of the campus community.

Pat Sullivan and Stella Turk

Strategic Planning Update, Dec. 6

Dear Colleagues,

The Strategic Planning process is unfolding as anticipated.  Pat Sullivan and Stella Turk, committee co-chairs, prepared a draft plan and circulated it to committee members to seek feedback.  The Strategic Planning Steering Committee met on Wednesday, December 5, to review the draft plan. Dr. William Weary of Fieldstone Consulting led the committee through a series of questions and exercises to identify next steps in revising the plan.  Committee co-chairs will revise the draft plan to incorporate recommendations from the December 5 meeting. The revised plan will be circulated to committee members for review and feedback.  The next meeting of the committee will take place in the middle of January.  At the beginning of  the Spring 2013 semester, a draft plan will be circulated to the campus community for review and feedback. During  Spring semester, members of the campus community will be invited to attend open forums to discuss the plan.

We look forward to next semester and sharing the draft plan with the campus community.


Pat Sullivan and Stella Turk
Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Strategic Planning Update, Nov. 5

Dear Colleagues,

On Saturday, November 3, sixty-seven faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, and College Council and Foundation Board members gathered for a day-long strategic planning retreat held in the College Terrace. The participants represented a cross-section of the campus community with limited overlap with those interviewed in October; this effort was made in order to provide broad representation and perspective.

The goal of the retreat was to develop wide-ranging views and a shared sense of direction for the College. Dr. William Weary of Fieldstone Consulting led small and large group sessions utilizing a variety of planning exercises.  College concerns, issues and aspirations were discussed through a series of open-ended questions that grew out of Dr. Weary’s interviews in October with about 100 members of the College community.

The retreat captured strategic goals and objectives, and the specific efforts we must complete during the life of the strategic plan. The Steering Committee will now develop a draft plan based on the outcome of the retreat.  The plan will be available for review and feedback early in the spring semester, to be incorporated into a final plan by the end of this academic year.

Those in attendance on Saturday expressed enthusiasm for the process and the outcome of the retreat.  We wish to thank all of the individuals who have participated in these efforts and the many who have offered support.


 Patricia Sullivan and Stella Turk
Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Progress Report, Oct. 17, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The strategic planning process is progressing as anticipated.  Dr. William Weary interviewed approximately 100 individuals from the faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni and community leaders during the week of October 8 – 11.  A broad range of topics related to the college’s strengths and challenges was discussed.  The findings were presented to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee on October 12 during a 90 minute meeting. Plans were also discussed for the November 3rd retreat.  Approximately, 80 individuals from the broad campus and regional community will be invited to participate in an all-day retreat where planning exercises will be utilized to develop a consensus for the plan. Those invited for the retreat will represent a wide range of campus and community constituencies recommended by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the Cabinet and the President.

We are grateful for the expert guidance from Dr. Weary through each step of the process. We have received a significant amount of positive feedback about Dr. Weary and are looking forward to a productive retreat.


Pat Sullivan and Stella Turk
Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Inaugural Meeting Report, Sept. 21, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

The inaugural meeting of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee was held on September 19. The committee met with the Consultant, Dr. William Weary. The first meeting was productive. Members introduced themselves. Dr. Weary then discussed the strategic planning process as outlined in President Christian’s introductory email along with his experiences on other campuses. He invited committee members to offer their thoughts and observations about the College, and its past, present, and future so he could begin to develop a sense about New Paltz and some of the strengths and challenges the committee members perceive. President Christian shared a charge to the committee and answered questions. There was a general consensus that this is going to be an exciting process. There will be a significant effort through interviews, a fall retreat, focus groups and meetings to involve the campus faculty, staff, students, alumnae as well as the community in the development of our strategic plan.

You will receive regular updates as the process unfolds. This web site has been developed to provide updates to the campus community. Dr. Weary’s biography and recent assignments and the committee membership are posted on the website. There are also some of the documents and other materials informing the committee’s work. Student governance has been asked to nominate student members. We will update the website when that information becomes available.

Please check this website frequently to remain up-to-date with the process.

Patricia Sullivan and Stella Turk
Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Membership Announced

Faculty and Staff:

Background and Strategic Planning Website.  Patricia Sullivan and Stella Turk, co-chairs of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, recently shared with you highlights from last week’s kick-off meeting and introduced you to the planning website (  I encourage you to learn about the process by visiting the website and to participate in our planning, which will establish institutional-level goals or objectives to focus our improvement during the next 3-5 years, and 6-8 tasks or projects that the College will complete during that time to achieve those objectives.

The Importance of Planning.  I identified the importance of such planning in my letter of application for the presidency, and have referred to it in subsequent reports, meetings, and addresses (State of the College 2011 and State of the College 2012; inaugural address; other monthly reports).  The time is right for us to launch this process, to develop a plan that lays out clear priorities and action steps by the end of the academic year.

Campus Participation.  You may be contacted in the coming weeks to participate in interviews with the consultant October 9-12 or in an extended planning retreat on November 3.  The committee will provide regular updates, and the process will include abundant opportunity for community feedback on the draft plan during spring semester.

Steering Committee Membership.  I am grateful to all of the members of the Steering Committee for their willingness to guide this process, and to faculty governance leaders for their help in identifying members at the start of the year so that we can follow our timeline.  The membership of the Committee is as follows:

Academic Faculty:
Patricia Sullivan (Co-Chair), Professor, Communication & Media, Interim Director of Honors
Stella Turk (Co-Chair), Instructor, Communication Disorders, Associate Dean, LA&S
Mary Christensen, Associate Professor and Chair, Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Peter Kaufman, Associate Professor, Sociology
Paul Kassel, Associate Professor, Theatre Arts, and Associate Dean, F&PA
Stacie Nunes, Assistant Professor and Chair, Physics & Astronomy
Tom Meyer, Associate Professor, Secondary Education

Professional Faculty:
Lucy Walker, Senior Research Analyst, Office of Institutional Research & Planning
Stuart Robinson, Athletic Director, Department of Athletics, Wellness & Recreation
Mary Kastner, Director of Design, Print and Mail Services, Office of Communication & Marketing (and alumna)

Philip Mauceri, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Mary Hafeli, Dean, Fine and Performing Arts
Jon Lewit, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Technology

College Council and Alumna:  Bythema Bagley

Students(2):       To be Named

Foundation Board: Mary Etta Schneider

Classified Staff: Tegan Scism, Clerk 2, Records & Registration

I thank you in advance for your participation in this important planning process, and for your support of the Steering Committee in its work.

Donald P. Christian

President Christian’s Message to Campus, Sept. 12, 2012

Dear New Paltz Faculty and Staff:

Introduction. I write to share key elements and a timeline for the strategic planning that we will begin this month. In this process, we will not fundamentally revise our institutional vision, identity, and primary directions. Those are clearly established, and reflect a course worth sustaining and enhancing, even as we must adjust and respond to a changed world. The emphasis of our planning will be action and improvement: how to best focus our attention and resources on objectives and goals – and the actions and metrics to achieve them – to most improve during the next 3-5 years.

This process will extend previous planning that has supported the growth in our reputation, quality, and profile. These efforts have been diverse, extensive, and their fruits palpable. Institutional planning in the late 1990s resulted in the major direction of raising selectivity and becoming a more competitive-admission institution, essentially serving high-quality higher education needs for New Yorkers. The eight “vision points” developed in 2005 have guided planning and resource allocation since then. Recent and ongoing improvements in grounds and facilities grew out of our Site and Landscape Master Plan (2007) and our Facilities Master Plan (2010), and that planning has established priorities for 2013-2018 funding requests for renovation and construction.

Major budget reductions in the face of reduced funding in 2008-09 and 2010-11 were planned carefully, using established processes and agreed-up criteria. Similar approaches guided recent decisions about investing new tuition revenues. In 2010-11, we planned alignment of campus goals and mission with themes of The Power of SUNY plan. A thorough and thoughtful Emergency Management and Response Plan guided us through Hurricane Irene in 2011, and we have applied lessons learned from that experience to improve the plan. Planning by the liberal education committee the past two years set the stage for our upcoming general education revision. We were recognized by Middle States for having built a strong culture of assessment, in which evidence and data inform our planning and decisions.

Thus, we have a strong tradition as a planful institution. This year’s process represents the next phase of our planning. It is time to build on and refine the central elements of our vision and develop a more operational plan than they have provided, and to draw on key directions from other planning. This planning process must take into account imperatives for our investment of new tuition revenues that focus on students and their learning and success. Themes from my Inaugural and State of the College addresses will inform these planning efforts. The Power of SUNY system-level strategic plan and outcomes of our 2011 Middle States re-accreditation process will provide further context and direction.

Intended Outcome. The final plan will identify several institutional-level goals or objectives for improvement, and 6-8 tasks or projects that the College will complete during the next 3-5 years to achieve those objectives, along with benchmarks for measuring our progress. While we are enacting the plan, we will continue our ongoing work of teaching and learning, scholarship, research, and creative activity, service, and running a complex organization in support of our educational mission – all while seeking ongoing improvement in how we do all of that work. A meaningful plan will result in priorities that when enacted will require that we focus additional attention and resources on these projects. As we implement the plan, we will continue to refine our processes for linking budget allocations and strategic priorities, as we began to do last year and as strongly recommended in our Middle States review.

Process. Consistent with other recent processes that have guided major decisions, our planning will include abundant opportunity for broad consultation, input, and feedback from the many individuals and diverse groups who value the College and are interested in our future. That consultation will inform the initial draft plan, as well as revisions leading to a final plan. A broadly based steering committee will guide our process, advise me at key steps, and work with our consultant, Dr. William Weary, who will facilitate the process leading to the draft plan, as outlined below. I have spoken with several presidents from among the many institutions that Dr. Weary has successfully assisted in such work, including top-tier liberal arts-based colleges and universities, and have reviewed several of the resulting plans. I heard praise for Dr. Weary’s ability to quickly engage participants, to provoke thoughtful discussion, and to draw out ideas from participants in the interviews and retreat that he will lead. I am enthusiastic about what he will bring to our process.

The Steering Committee is an institutional committee that will include 12-15 members from the College’s diverse constituencies. These members will be asked to dedicate themselves throughout this process to the best overall interests of the College. The Steering Committee is not intended to develop a plan based on its members’ aims and interests. Instead, its roles are to synthesize, integrate, and effectively communicate the input and ideas generated by the entire campus community through the interviews and planning retreat described below; organize and implement a process to solicit broad community input on a draft plan, and exercise their judgment in assessing and integrating that input; and prepare drafts and the final plan.

In guiding an open and consultative process, the community will regularly post information and updates on a planning webpage, and in other ways keep the community informed about ongoing progress using some of the same approaches as in our budget processes and Middle States self-study. Members of the community will have access to the same information and materials reviewed and considered by the consultant and the steering committee. As soon as possible, we will post some of the “foundational” materials noted above – Inaugural and State of the College addresses, Power of SUNY alignment plan, Middle States recommendations, and other planning documents.

I am pleased that Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Professor of Communication and Media and Interim Director of the Honors Program, and Dr. Stella Turk, Associate Dean in Liberal Arts and Sciences and Instructor in Communication Disorders, have agreed to co-chair the Steering Committee. They will be joined by three academic faculty members identified through the governance process; I appreciate Presiding Officer Paul Zuckerman’s efforts to do so before the September 19 meeting with Dr. Weary. To ensure a strong and diverse faculty voice on the committee, I will appoint up to three additional academic faculty after I receive names through the governance process. Professional Faculty members of the committee will include recommendations provided by Alan Dunefsky, Chair of the Professional Faculty Council. Provost Phil Mauceri has agreed to serve on the Committee, as Cabinet representative and as chief academic officer. Other Steering Committee members will include an academic dean, two students selected by SA and RHSA leadership, another Management-Confidential employee, a member of the Classified staff, an alumnus/a, a College Council member, and a Foundation Board Director. I will announce the full membership of the committee when it is complete.

Timeline. The planned timeline for this process is as follows, culminating in a well-reviewed and -vetted plan submitted for my review and approval before the end of this academic year:

    • Early September: Finalize Steering Committee Composition.
    • September 19: Dr. Weary will meet with Steering Committee to lay out process. The committee will recommend materials for his review, and suggest individuals to interview and individuals to participate in a planning workshop (described below). Dr. Weary has already reviewed considerable documentation in his efforts to learn about the campus, previous planning efforts, our history and trajectory.
    • October 8-12: Dr. Weary will conduct confidential interviews with 80-100 individuals, who together reflect the variety of perspectives about the College. These will include faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, community leaders, members of the Foundation Board and College Council, and SUNY System leaders. At the close of the interviews, he and the Steering Committee will meet for several hours to share initial impressions.
    • November 3: The Steering Committee, in consultation with me, will select about 75 people to take part in a day-long retreat focused on the work of the College in the next several years; these will include the same breadth of groups as the interviews. The retreat, which will include small-group and plenary sessions, will articulate College concerns, issues, and dreams through a series of open-ended questions that grow out of the previous interviews. During the retreat, the goal is to develop broad perspectives and a shared sense of direction for the College. The final exercise will capture strategic goals and objectives, and the specific efforts we must complete during the life of the plan to achieve those goals.
    • Pre-December Holiday Break: Using the results of the planning workshop and perspectives shared by the consultant, the Steering Committee prepares a first draft of the plan, and edits to produce a next draft for review by the College’s senior leadership.
    • Holiday Break: Administrative review, feedback to the Steering Committee.
    • Spring Semester: The Steering Committee will develop and implement a process to share and discuss the draft plan with constituent groups and with interested individuals throughout the broader College community. That process will include open forums with faculty, staff, and students and meetings with groups such as Administrative Council, College Council, and governance committees such as Budget, Goals and Plans. Feedback from these sessions will be used to generate a new draft, with another round of consultations if warranted.
    • Late Spring Semester: Following my review of the Steering Committee’s final draft of the plan and consultation with Cabinet, I will issue the final plan.

Other planning
. This institutional-level planning process should not supplant school, department, or other unit-based strategic plans and planning. Indeed, we should strive for vertically integrated planning, where “nested” unit plans support a College-wide plan and are enriched by that broader plan. I know that some deans are already thinking about school-based strategic planning processes to align with the outcomes of institutional planning.

While the task we are undertaking presents many challenges, I am enthusiastic and optimistic about working with the entire campus community as we shape the next several years for our college through this important planning process. Your participation and input are essential to both the process and product of our planning, and I thank each of you in advance for your involvement.


Donald P. Christian