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Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010 Receives Trustee, Faculty Backingg

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Going Where No Women Have Gone Before: Martha Ackmann and the Mercury 13

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A Bit of a Riddle: Mount Holyoke Class Colors and Emblemse

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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

May 23 , 2003

Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010 Receives Trustee, Faculty Backing

Following unanimous endorsement by the faculty at the April 30 faculty meeting, the College's board of trustees has approved The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010, a wide-ranging strategy for the College's movement into the twenty-first century. The board, which has been significantly involved in the planning process, voted its unanimous and enthusiastic support at its meeting this past weekend.


Coming on the heels of the College's current, highly successful Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003, the newly approved document is the result of a broad-ranging, two-year process involving input and representation from all parts of the community, including thousands of hours of discussions, symposia, and meetings; letters, notes, and emails from on and off campus; and twenty-seven supporting reports and planning documents.


"The core question animating this planning process has been: How can Mount Holyoke best prepare its students for the unprecedented challenges of the twenty-first century?" said President Joanne V. Creighton. "This document represents our best thinking as a community on how to make Mount Holyoke, in the words of the Plan, 'the most focused, relevant, exciting, state-of-the-art liberal arts college in the country,' as well as how to energize our leadership role in the worldwide education of women."


"The board of trustees views The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010 as a forward-looking document that will enable the Mount Holyoke community to continue to generate the creativity, energy, new ideas, and programs necessary to maintain leadership in the liberal arts," said Eleanor Graham Claus '55, chair of the board of trustees. "This Plan is a credit to the entire community and will call for the same broad collaboration in its implementation that was so evident in its conception."


As did the Plan for 2003, the new Plan also takes an unblinking look at the challenges facing the College, noting, in its opening paragraph: "Mount Holyoke continues to defy the dominant trends in higher education toward large, public, nonresidential, professional, urban, and coed. . . . This Plan seeks to turn challenges into opportunities."


The nine-part planning document, spanning twenty-four tabloid pages in its third, and nearly final draft, puts forward strategies to move toward greater focus and coordination in virtually every area of the College.


One of the most significant and far-reaching components of The Plan for 2010 concentrates on "Focusing on the Academic Program: A Plan to Plan." This section lays the groundwork for a forthcoming evaluation by the faculty of the College's curriculum and degree requirements. The multiyear process, led by the faculty's Academic Priorities Committee, will be conducted with an eye toward increasing connections among disciplines and encouraging interdisciplinary clustering of interest. At the same time, faculty planners will examine ways to make international education an even more significant emphasis of the College and increase the number of tenure-track faculty. A newly created faculty director of international initiatives, supported by an advisory committee, will help move efforts to "internationalize" the formal academic program forward.


The Plan also emphasizes other key areas, including linking the curricular and the cocurricular; educating students for leadership and citizenship; continuing progress on campus and facilities enhancement, restoration, and renewal; building new connections to communities outside the College; and continuing the College's efforts to enhance its visibility as a leader in women's education. Other components of the Plan include strengthening academic advising; systematically upgrading student residential housing; enhancing January Term offerings; strengthening links to the Five Colleges and local community; engaging alumnae and staff more fully in the life and work of the College; creating greater integration of technology; and sustaining the College's recent gains in admissions and financial well-being.


A Significant Planning Process
Although the planning process for The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010 was extensive, the College, during President Creighton's term here, has had excellent experience with planning and plans. The process for devising the current plan mirrored, in many ways, the process for The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003, which was launched in 1996 and which identified core goals necessary for institutional success. As a result of that earlier plan, Mount Holyoke is in a much stronger position today than it was seven years ago. Among many benefits of The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003, the College has seen four consecutive years of record-breaking numbers of applicants, a highly successful comprehensive fundraising campaign, an extensive program of facilities renovation and new construction, and the creation of the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership and the Center for Environmental Literacy.


A letter from President Creighton to the community in November 2001 set the current planning process in motion. Soon after that initial letter, Creighton formed the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the College, a twenty-five-member committee including trustees, students, administrators, faculty members, senior staff, and the president of the Alumnae Association. Last year, this committee—through subcommittees concentrating on educational and administrative opportunities—led community-wide conversations that focused on building on MHC's strengths in all areas. The dialogues took place during forums, in focus groups, via the Web, and within committees, departments, programs, divisions, and other organizations and groups. Work also drew on materials and findings generated by current and recently completed studies and planning initiatives conducted at the College.


This year, this work continued and intensified: the campus-wide dialogue moved forward in a process of intensive review and refinement of three successive drafts of the Plan. Again, a succession of meetings, dialogues, symposia, and Web-based conversations about each draft, involving every constituency on campus as well as alumnae, helped shape the final Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010.


"The great strength of this Plan is its potential to summon the deepest and most vital intellectual energies of the College to renew its curriculum and its historic commitment to educate women all around the world," said Ad Hoc Committee member and Professor of English Carolyn Penney Collette '67.

This article originally appeared in the May 9 issue of CSJ. It is being rerun this week for alumnae and parent readers..

 

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