Warren Wilson College News

February 2007 Report to Campus

By: Sandy Pfeiffer
This monthly report will deal exclusively with our planning process. Recently I gave you the opportunity to comment on an Action Plan draft located on my campus web page. Many thanks for your responses, all of which were reviewed by the Administrative Council. The following points flow from Ad Council discussions or from my own views of the planning process:

Point #1: Use of Current Action Plan
The Action Plan is meant to be a temporary tool. That is, we needed a document to guide some near-term activity at the College—including the steps, responsible parties, and completion dates for a few selected tasks, mostly during this year and the next. The Action Plan will serve this purpose and help move us into a “planning frame of mind.”

Point #2: Need for New Strategic Plan
Although the Action Plan can help get us started, it has two main deficiencies, which several of you denoted: it does not reflect enough shared priorities among divisions and it leaves out some important areas of the College. Rather than spend time “fixing” this short-term Action Plan, however, I think we need to begin the process of creating a new Strategic Plan that will (a) emphasize shared priorities such as sustainability and integration of the Triad, (b) include all areas of the College, and (c) guide the upcoming Comprehensive Capital Campaign.

Point #3: Next Steps
Here are the main steps ahead for our planning process. First, we’ll leave the current Action Plan as is, both because it’s sufficient to direct the next few semesters but also because we aim to replace it with a new Strategic Plan. That said, in the coming months of activity at the College, we’ll consider suggestions we received about deficiencies in areas such as international programs, technology infrastructure, and community partnerships. Second, this coming fall we’ll begin the community process of developing a five-year Strategic Plan. There will be plenty of time to make it a ground-up process, resulting in a Strategic Plan we’ll present to the Board of Trustees at a date not yet determined.

In summary, your comments helped drive the decision to develop a new Strategic Plan, and I thank you. A sound Strategic Plan will help direct human and financial resources toward accomplishing the mission of the College. One remaining challenge we have is to create our 10-year “vision statement.” I hope to begin a conversation with you soon about that task. Here’s one possible statement (among many) we can discuss: “Warren Wilson will be the nation’s premier liberal arts college that has sustainability at the core of its programs and practices.”

Sandy Pfeiffer

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