Centre’s Board approves strategic plan

Posted by Centre News in News Archive 14 Feb 2008

RELEASED: February 14, 2008

Goals of the Strategic Plan are:
Centre College will prepare young people to be citizens of the world—to develop women and men whose consciousness, perspectives, and activities reflect a readiness and eagerness to engage opportunities and challenges from all parts of the world. Centre will do so by infusing such consciousness, perspective, and action more completely through all aspects of its educational experience, building on its already strong international studies and study-abroad programs. In the process, Centre will create an experience in global citizenship deemed to be a national leader.

Centre College will create a nationally recognized model for engaged and experiential learning by enabling students to: experience the work of the historian, biologist, or artist, rather than only observing and analyzing the process and results; engage in different forms of collaborative work; apply the power and relevancy of the liberal arts through community-based learning; engage in activities that require and develop creative thinking; combine opportunities from across the College to study and develop effective leadership; engage the academic program with co-curricular and extracurricular programs in a mutually supportive educational experience, and; engage all of these elements together through active and purposeful planning and management of each student’s experience.

Centre College will recruit, retain, reward, and support a faculty and staff that is at once of the highest quality preparation, committed to the College’s distinctive mission, and reflective of the diverse communities in which Centre’s students will live and work. In doing so, Centre will establish a human resource effort that is judged to be a model for undergraduate colleges.

Centre College will seek to maintain and enhance its historic and increasingly distinctive commitment to being a place of both high achievement and high opportunity—serving students of ever greater motivation and talent, regardless of their financial circumstances. Centre will seek to increase the number and quality of applicants, allowing it to choose to grow in a manner and pace that it controls and that advances the College’s educational and financial goals.

Centre College will maintain and enhance a holistic learning environment in a highly residential community by creating physical facilities and spaces that support and match the quality of the College’s academic and student life programs.

Centre College will use information technology to enhance, not supplant, the core elements of the Centre Experience—rigorous inquiry, community, collaboration, and creativity. Centre will also develop and maintain the support infrastructure necessary to achieve and sustain this goal. As it does, Centre has the opportunity to make an important contribution to the continuing conversation regarding information technology and higher education.

Centre College will create a financial base adequate to support the fulfillment of the College’s aspirations, through effective management of current resources and the development of new and increased sources of support.

Centre College will sustain its longstanding tradition for having a dynamic, engaged Board of Trustees that provides balanced policy-level leadership and seeks to advance the College in all ways with its gifts of work, wisdom, and wealth. Centre will also establish a model program for engagement of and communication with its alumni, parents of current students, and friends.

Centre College will, through the example of its own programs and its leadership in issues of higher education, become a place of greater influence in the American academy. Centre College will also continue to be that place in the Commonwealth of Kentucky—and on an increasingly national and international stage—where conversations on issues of importance to the larger society take place.

Part 1

RELEASED: February 14, 2008
Centre College’s Board of Trustees approved a new comprehensive strategic plan for the College at their January board meeting. The completed version of the plan, titled “The Centre Saga”, is the result of a three-year process involving the entire Centre community; it sets out an ambitious but achievable vision of Centre’s future.

“This plan intends to provide Centre with a compelling direction for the next decade and the foundation for the College’s next 25 years,” says Centre’s President John Roush.

“Some of the ideas presented will be most ambitious and not all will be accomplished in the next five or even 10 years,” he adds.

Roush; Clarence Wyatt, Pottinger Professor of History, special assistant to the president and chief planning officer; and Jacky Thomas, director of alumni affairs, began initial work on the plan in 2004, and the public phase of the drafting process began in 2005.

“The plan is important because every institution and organization needs to assess where it is in its own history and development, in addition to figuring out where it fits in the current environment and in the future, as best we can guess about that,” Wyatt says.

“Much of Centre’s progress over the past 25-30 years has come from engaging successfully in just such a process of understanding its strengths and weaknesses and matching those against trends in the wider world,” Wyatt continues. “If we don’t do this kind of thing, we are much more vulnerable than if we try to turn change to our advantage.”

Following are highlights of the nine strategic goals set out by the plan:
1. Become widely recognized for offering one of the nation’s premier undergraduate experiences in global studies. Centre’s global studies program will provide an array of curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular offerings, all including extensive study and work opportunities abroad. The College will be among the first choices for young people seeking strong undergraduate preparation for graduate study and careers in a global setting.

2. Create a nationally recognized model for engaged and experiential learning by enabling students to participate in:
• Hands-on learning with experts in the field
• Collaborative work
• Community-based learning
• Activities that require and develop creative thinking skills
• Opportunities to develop effective leadership skills
• Co-curricular and extracurricular programs that create a mutually supportive educational experience

All of the above elements will be effectively conducted through active and purposeful planning and management of each student’s experience.

3. Recruit, retain, reward and support a faculty and staff that is at once of the highest quality preparation, committed to the College’s distinctive mission and reflective of Centre’s diverse communities.

4. Maintain and enhance Centre’s historic and increasingly distinctive commitment to being a place of both high achievement and high opportunity; increase the number and quality of applicants, allowing Centre to choose to grow in a manner and pace that it controls and that advances the College’s educational and financial goals.

5. Maintain and enhance a holistic learning environment in a highly residential community by creating physical facilities and spaces that support and match the quality of the College’s academic and student life programs.

6. Use information technology to enhance the core elements of the Centre experience—rigorous inquiry, community, collaboration and creativity.

7. Create a financial base adequate to support the fulfillment of the College’s aspirations, through effective management of current resources and the development of new and increased sources of support.

8. Sustain a long-standing tradition for having a dynamic and engaged Board of Trustees that provides balanced policy-level leadership and seeks to advance the College in all ways in its gifts of work, wisdom and wealth. In addition, establish a model of program for engagement of and communication with Centre alumni, parents of current students and friends.

9. Become, through the example of its programs and its leadership in issues of higher education, a place of greater influence in the American academy. In addition, continue to be that place in the Commonwealth of Kentucky—on an increasingly national and international stage—where conversations on issues of importance to the larger society take place.

Part 2

RELEASED: February 21, 2008
Global citizenship is one of the key goals set forth by the strategic plan approved by the Centre College Board of Trustees at their January board meeting, and is an area in which Centre has already made significant progress. The College is a national leader in foreign study: more than 85 percent of Centre’s students take advantage of study-abroad opportunities.

The future of Centre’s commitment to educating citizens of the world will involve becoming widely recognized among the nation’s premier undergraduate experiences for global studies, through an array of curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular offerings, all including extensive study and work opportunities abroad. The global citizenship initiatives include:
1. Establishing a Center for Global Citizenship, the responsibilities for which might include:
• Informing students about existing opportunities and developing new study-abroad opportunities
• Developing and maintaining a database of international internship opportunities for students
• Coordinating a student global citizenship-leadership certificate program focused on developing the knowledge and skills needed for global citizenship-leadership
• Supporting faculty research across all disciplines that encourage student involvement in projects with international emphasis
• Coordinating international guests’ visits, convocations, and other activities
• Developing a coherent procedure for international student recruitment

2. Increasing global perspective on campus involves several initiatives, including:
• Establishing an interdisciplinary global studies committee
• Establishing majors and minors in a series of regional and topical studies
• Establishing a global commerce experience
• Creating new majors and minors where the existing structure of relevant majors or minors is close to being in place
• Enhancing language offerings
• Establishing a sustainability component in the curriculum
• Expanding global perspectives in the curriculum
• Exploring the creation of summer immersion programs
• Exploring intensive international study programs
• Developing new initiatives for faculty development
• Establishing summer research funding
• Expanding campus internationalization
• Expanding cultural programs with a global perspective
• Increasing the number of foreign, degree-seeking students
• Pursuing new initiatives in student life related to global awareness

3. Enhancing and expanding study-abroad programs:
• Expanding the Merida program to two long terms (already implemented)
• Establishing a residential program in China
• Establishing exchange programs with institutions in India, the Middle East and other areas
• Offering competitive grants to fund specific research and study-abroad projects for students
• Expanding study-abroad opportunities for science students
• Participating more actively in study-abroad programs administered by other Centre-affiliated organizations
• Creating language scholarships
• Establishing a Visiting Language Scholar Program
• Creating “Live, Learn, and Intern” programs
• Creating a study-abroad honors program

4. Developing outreach programs
• Kentucky Teacher-Training Institute
• Summer Language Immersion Institute

Part 3

RELEASED: February 28, 2008
Engaged and experiential learning, or “hands-on learning,” is another key goal mapped out by the strategic plan approved by Centre College’s Board of Trustees at their January meeting. The plan builds on what is already one of Centre’s greatest strengths: the holistic nature of the College’s educational experience.

The plan calls for Centre to create a nationally recognized model for experiential learning by enabling students to:
• Experience work rather than only observe and analyze
• Engage in more collaborative work
• Engage in community-based learning
• Study and develop effective leadership skills
• Take advantage of more co-curricular and extracurricular programs
• Draw all of these elements together through planning and management of each student’s experience

To achieve these goals, the plan details specific initiatives:
1. Strengthening and expanding undergraduate research and collaborative learning. Necessary to this initiative are:
• A fresh approach regarding undergraduate research and faculty teaching load
• More funding for collaborative research, including travel for conference presentations
• Funding for student-generated research projects
• Facilities that would support and enhance collaborative research
• Summer exchanges with other Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) members
• Summer housing or stipends for student researchers
• Granting academic credit for research

2. Emphasizing creative thinking and creativity:
• Requiring a capstone course or other activity in every major program that requires creative problem solving or creative expression
• Supporting faculty-to-faculty, faculty-to-student and student-to-student collaborative efforts with funding for materials and teaching credit
• Examining further and prioritizing the creation of a minor in film and digital video
Creating models for special programs that would foster creative work
• Increasing funds to support student attendance where they would present their work at professional conferences and meetings
• Making focused efforts to publicize creative activities
• Providing training for faculty and staff in group dynamics that foster creative thinking

3. Creating an internal teaching and learning “think tank”

4. Strengthening and expanding community-based learning

5. Achieving greater coherence among the different elements of the first-year student experience

6. Developing a more coordinated and purposeful program of leadership development. Specific actions to support this initiative include:
• Coordinating leadership development activities
• Exploring the adoption on a regular basis of College-wide leadership of a public policy theme to be integrated into curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities
• Establishing an endowment to fund public service grants for students

7. Creating “The CentrePlan,” a program of advising and mentoring that will enable more active and purposeful planning and management of each student’s experience

8. Helping students improve in “numeracy,” or quantitative literacy, in order to provide them with the skills they need to understand numbers and data, assess them critically and use them effectively

9. Becoming a model of excellence in career development, graduate and professional school exploration and preparation, and post-baccalaureate fellowship advising and placement

10. Exploring the creation of a Centre-in-America Program, with the goal of creating study, work and service opportunities in the United States

11. Reviewing academic areas and overall curriculum as strategic plan initiatives are put into place and developed

12. Conducting a thorough review of athletics and recreation, including:
• Establishing Centre as a place of “best practice” for intercollegiate sport at the Division III level by 2012, including a review of the College’s conference affiliation by 2010
• Exploring the addition of sports that would have a positive influence on admission
• Exploring what sports might be eliminated
• Exploring the revision or elimination of the Health and Human Performance requirement
• Developing means by which students can better integrate academic and extracurricular activities
• Exploring whether the College should work to establish true regional or even national prominence in one or two intercollegiate sports
• Understanding that these goals have significant financial, personnel and facility implications

13. Seeking to establish a variety of partnerships with other educational institutions

14. Considering the creation and expansion of summer class opportunities

15. Developing theme years

16. Considering the establishment of special study programs such as:
• Public Policy/Polling Institute
• Bluegrass Regional Studies Center
• Center for Environmental/Sustainability Studies

17. Encouraging and facilitating self-designed majors

18. Creating a co-curricular transcript

19. Conducting exit interviews

20. Expanding fifth-year graduate assistants

21. Considering the creation of shared community experiences

22. Considering the creation of more opportunities for true team teaching

Part 4

RELEASED: March 6, 2008
Parts two and three of this series outlined the two key goals of the strategic plan that was approved by Centre’s Board of Trustees at their January meeting: global citizenship and experiential learning. But the far-reaching aims of the plan extend to every area of the College, including faculty, staff, enrollment and student body, and facilities.

1. The goals for faculty and staff share many elements: to recruit, retain and reward individuals who are committed to the College’s mission and reflect and support an increasingly diverse community. The following summarizes the College’s initiatives for faculty:
• Establishing and pursuing appropriate targets for faculty salaries
• Creating an internal teaching and learning “think tank”
• Examining sabbatical policy
• Increasing resources for faculty professional activity
• Conducting outside reviews of academic programs
• Providing additional grant-writing and grant-seeking assistance for faculty
• Creating learning opportunities for faculty personal enrichment (this is also a goal for staff)

For staff, the following initiatives seek to address the goal of attracting and retaining women and men committed to the Centre Experience:
• Establishing and pursuing appropriate targets for staff salaries and wages
• Exploring alternative distribution strategies for employee benefits
• Providing support for continuing education
• Increasing diversity
• Developing a more thorough orientation program for new staff
• Creating greater connections between the faculty and staff by developing activities that would bring them together

2. Centre will strive to maintain its current position as a nation leading “best value,” positioning itself as the least expensive option of its national peer group. In order to remain a viable option for students from all economic backgrounds, Centre will, at the least, double that proportion of endowment that provides financial support for students. Centre will seek to remain a strong competitor for academically able Kentuckians regardless of individual financial circumstances by:
• Increasing the size of the College through managed, controlled enrollment growth and continued attention to retention
• Maintaining the College’s commitment to being a place both of high achievement and high opportunity
• Establishing a premier scholarship program
• Increasing the number and percentage of foreign students
• Expanding promises of the Centre Commitment

3. Centre will maintain and enhance a holistic learning environment in a highly residential community by creating physical facilities and spaces that support and match the quality of the College’s academic and student life programs, and are judged to be friendly to the physical environment. The initiatives for achieving these goals include:
• Renovating and expanding science facilities
• Constructing a true campus center
• Refurbishing the Norton Center
• Addressing additional athletic and recreational space needs
• Renovating existing residence halls and considering the construction of new residential facilities
• Examining the need for a new classroom/academic office building

Part 5

RELEASED: March 13, 2008
Centre College’s ongoing promise to provide personal education that enables students to achieve extraordinary success, in addition to its commitment to playing a leadership role among the nation’s colleges and universities, requires that the College regularly evaluate its goals for the future and map out strategies for achieving them.

Parts 1 – 4 in this series have outlined many of the initiatives set out by the strategic plan approved by Centre’s Board of Trustees at their January meeting. The final two goals for information technology and finance and resources are outlined here.

The core goal for information technology as it’s presented in the strategic plan is to use IT to enhance, not supplant, the core elements of the Centre experience: rigorous inquiry, community, collaboration and creativity. Centre will also develop and maintain the support infrastructure necessary to achieve and sustain this goal. As it proceeds, Centre has the opportunity to make an important contribution to the continuing conversation regarding information technology and higher education.

The following summarizes the many ways in which Centre plans to dramatically enhance the information technology experience of members of the College community:
• Developing a “Learning Matrix,” a multimedia information commons to be located on the main floor of the Grace Doherty Library. Numerous stations will provide services and resources including: reference and research; web and graphic design; video editing; presentation development; and video screening.
• Making better use of opportunities for distance learning by investigating ways in which it can take advantage of the best elements of high-tech distance education while also exploring how it can export “best of class” material to the wider world
• Exploring technology to record and retrieve audio and video for teaching and learning
• Incorporating an “information fluency proficiency” into the curriculum
• Significantly expanding videoconferencing capabilities
• Expanding collaborative classroom technology
• Adding computer classrooms
• Examining policies for providing computer/information technology equipment to faculty and staff
• Exploring the creation of a recording studio

The final section of the strategic plan focuses on long term initiatives involving finance and resources for the College. The plan calls for creating a financial base adequate to support the fulfillment of the College’s aspirations, through effective management of current resources and the development of new and enhanced sources of support. The plan calls for developing the base of support necessary for implementation by:
• Maintaining and enhancing the College’s extraordinarily effective Board of Trustees
• Creating and maintaining a model program of alumni and friend relations
• Creating and maintaining a model program of communications, media relations and marketing
• Establishing and achieving the following financial objectives:
• Having an endowment of at least $325 million by 2010 and $750 million by 2020
• Maintaining the College’s leadership position in alumni giving while also increasing the overall giving and average size of gifts from alumni, parents and friends
• Growing the Capital Improvements Fund to at least $25 million by 2012
• Reviewing endowment management policies and procedures
• Reviewing policies related to the acquisition, use, management and sale of College properties
• Reviewing resources required for full funding of current needs and activities

Part 6

RELEASED: March 19, 2009
Progress made for global citizenship goal
As the current unsettled environment makes all too clear, countries across the globe have become inseparably linked. Part One of Centre College’s nine-point strategic plan, adopted in 2008, aims to prepare students to be successful citizens of the world.

In August, the College established the Center for Global Citizenship, headed by Dr. Milton Reigelman, Cowan Professor of English and longtime international programs director, to coordinate and administer Centre’s increasing array of international options. The center is located in Old Carnegie, where students can now watch current newscasts in French, Spanish, German and Chinese.

In addition, President John Roush has appointed a Global Citizenship Committee, whose recommendations include establishing five new minors. Three would be part of existing programs: global commerce (part of the economics program), global law and governance (government program), and global environment and sustainability (a track within the environmental studies minor). Two more, area studies in Latin America and the Far East, would be interdisciplinary programs that would mainly use existing faculty and resources.

While each recommendation will need to be approved by the respective programs and the curricular committee, the hope is that at least some of the five will be available by the fall of 2010.

Longer-range suggestions from the committee include establishing tenure-track positions in both Chinese culture and Mandarin and Japanese culture and language.

“We are very conscious of managing resources in the current financial situation,” acknowledges Clarence Wyatt ’78, Pottinger Professor of History and chief planning officer. “But it’s important to look at ways to strengthen the College at a time when others are hunkering down. If we don’t at least think about and plan for doing it when resources do allow, we’re just that much farther behind.”

He notes that the College’s Norton Center for the Arts—built at the urging of then-board chair Chauncey Newlin ’25—opened in 1973, as economic storm clouds were massing. “Most people probably thought Chan Newlin was crazy to dream of a world-class arts center at a school of 750 students, especially then,” he says. “But now it’s obvious that the Norton Center and our study abroad programs are what set us apart.”