for Mount Holyoke 2010 Receives Trustee, Faculty Backing
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..