Progress on the new strategic planning effort at William & Mary continues on schedule and the Planning Steering Committee has narrowed a set of draft “grand challenges” the College faces moving forward.
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The steering committee—which includes faculty, staff and students—was established in September by William & Mary President Taylor Reveley to research and then recommend a strategic plan and to initiate an annual planning process. Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Jim Golden co-chair the committee.
The College’s last comprehensive strategic plan was produced in 1994, and it has been updated by various plans for different programs since then. The committee’s work is part of a new, ongoing process that will be revised, updated and enhanced each year, integrating plans into a single, coordinated document. The new strategic planning process will develop five-year plans that feed directly into the annual budget planning process. The committee will coordinate its efforts with the Board of Visitors, including planning discussions at each board meeting. The committee will provide recommendations to the President in March, and he will develop the plan to be discussed at the April 2009 Board of Visitors meeting.
Since September, the steering committee has coordinated numerous discussions with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, members of the Board of Visitors and various advisory boards, Feiss said.
“The committee spent a great deal of time in the fall semester gathering input from all segments of the College community,” Feiss said. “These discussions helped inform us as we considered a draft vision for William & Mary and the grand challenges facing the College over the next five to 10 years.”
Based on that input, the committee identified 14 preliminary challenges facing the College. Those were presented to the Board of Visitors during a two-day meeting in November that was largely devoted to the new strategic planning process. The committee narrowed that preliminary list and in December presented President Reveley with six draft “grand challenges” for review.
“The president agreed that these draft challenges were far enough along to move to the second phase of the planning process and that is the development of goals and objectives for each challenge,” said Golden, adding that there are now six subcommittees—one for each challenge. The subcommittees will develop goals and objectives, reviewing and incorporating ideas provided by deans, vice presidents and selected program directors.
The six draft grand challenges are:
- Liberal Arts University—Lead higher education as a model liberal arts university.
- Diversity—Build and support a more fully diverse W&M community that demonstrates the strengths of inclusion.
- Community—Build an ever more engaging educational environment that maximizes student learning, fosters personal development and inspires a lifelong commitment to W&M.
- Financial Model—Develop and implement a business plan that maximizes revenue sources and ensures transparent resource allocation in support of College priorities and needs.
- Infrastructure—Provide adequate human and physical resources to sustain a 21st century liberal arts university.
- Communications—Articulate more clearly W&M’s identity, mission, and goals, and implement a more effective model for internal and external communications.
This month, Golden said, the steering committee and its subcommittees will discuss the major goals in each challenge area. In February, the committee will report its progress and gather feedback from the Board of Visitors as it continues to refine the goals under each challenge. In March, draft goals and objectives will be forwarded to the president for review. In April, the president will prepare a plan for discussion at the regular meeting of the Board of Visitors.
Updates, detailed outlines of each challenge, rosters of each subcommittee, and feedback space are available on the steering committee’s Web site.