December 13, 2019
The St. Lawrence Board of Trustees met by conference call on Friday, December 13, in its annual custom of being updated on several strategic topics. Most importantly, the Board approved the immediate formation of a University task force to be called Experience St. Lawrence: the Task Force on Institutional Structure, Policy, and Planning.
The board recognizes the excellent work being done by previous and current Institutional Strategy and Assessment Committees (ISAC), whose focus is primarily on the strategy of academic initiatives. ISAC’s final report will be submitted in May 2020. Meanwhile, ISAC plans to lead a campus-wide discussion about its work next semester.
With ISAC on a good path, with reasonable progress in strategic budgeting, with recent campus updates from the Dean of Admissions and the CFO in mind, the trustees approved a proposal to create a strategic planning task force for deliberations on institutional structure, policy, and planning. The most fundamental challenge in higher ed, particularly in the world of independent liberal arts colleges, is structural in nature. It requires the approach of “grand strategy.”
The group will commence work in January 2020. Solidly based on principles of shared governance with trustees, faculty and staff, this task force will determine the scope, choice, and selection of whatever counsel it will require. With just a few weeks left before the new decade begins there is a need to think boldly about the future and ask what does the St. Lawrence experience look like in 2030?
Experience St. Lawrence: the Task Force on Institutional Structure, Policy, and Planning
As the University assesses potential strategic options, the Experience St. Lawrence Task Force will focus on identifying a range of high-impact initiatives that align to the mission of the University and will enable it to continue to thrive both academically and financially.
Specifically, the Task Force will work to:
- Create a process to identify and prioritize challenges and develop solutions that will fully integrate and coordinate with current University planning resources (ISAC) and be incorporated into a new strategic map
- Select an outside third-party advisor with expertise in higher education change management
- Assess the current higher education market context relevant to St. Lawrence
- Socialize ideas and solicit input from key stakeholder groups
- Develop an implementation and accountability plan
The group will include three faculty members, four senior administrators, four trustees, and three ex-officio members. Names of the members are listed below.
- Lee Bailey’74, trustee
- Ana Estevez, associate professor of biology and psychology
- Steve Hietsch, vice president for finance and administration
- Florence Hines, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid
- Jeff Killeen’75, trustee
- Lorie MacKenzie, associate vice president for academic administration & planning and University registrar
- Judith Nagel-Myers, associate professor of geology and Chair, Faculty Council
- Nicoline Sawabini’79, P’15, trustee
- Karl Schonberg, vice president and dean of academic affairs
- Chris Watts, associate professor of music
- Kathleen Welch’81, trustee
Lee Bailey and Lorie MacKenzie have agreed to co-chair the task force. I will serve ex officio with Chair of the Board Mike Ranger ’80, P’17 and Vice Chair of the Board Jennifer Curley Reichert ’90. Assistant to the President Dayle Burgess and Vice President for University Communications Paul Redfern will also serve as task force resource experts.
Your questions are welcome anytime. Best wishes for the end of the semester and new year.