October 11, 2002
Plan to Plan: The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010
a plan needs a plan if it is to come to fruition as an accurate
and effective representation of the needs and goals of an institution.
President Joanne V. Creighton, an accomplished architect of strategic
plans who first honed her skills at Wesleyan University and later
led the process that resulted in the development and adoption
of the College's highly successful Plan for Mount Holyoke
2003, began taking steps early on to produce the heir to that
plan. In a letter sent to the MHC community last November, Creighton
asked the question "How can Mount Holyoke best prepare its
students for the unprecedented challenges of the twenty-first
century?" and called for "our most creative thinking,
our best collective wisdom" as the first step in a collaborative
two-year planning process aimed at generating fresh ideas to carry
the College forward.
for Mount Holyoke 2003 clarified and affirmed the mission
of the College and called for a number of new initiatives, including
the development of leadership and environmental centers and a
fundraising campaign," says Creighton. "That plan was
created as a response to pressing financial and enrollment challenges.
Because those challenges were met successfully, we are now in
a position of much greater strength. This draft places more emphasis
on the academic program and on keeping the College relevant, particularly
through curricular and cocurricular practices, in a rapidly changing
Laying the Groundwork
As the first step
in the planning process, Creighton formed the Ad Hoc Committee
on the Future of the College, which consists of two Subcommitteesthe
Educational Priorities Subcommittee and the Administrative Priorities
Subcommittee. These committees, which include trustees, students,
administrators, faculty members, senior staff, and the president
of the Alumnae Association, during last semester began leading
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. Both
subcommittees also drew on materials and findings generated by
current and recently completed studies and planning initiatives
conducted at the College. These ideas laid the groundwork for
the development of the draft of The Plan for Mount Holyoke
2010, which in its final form will succeed the College's
current comprehensive plan.
A Community Blitz
Now Creighton is relying
on the entire MHC community to participate in a process of review
and refinement of the draft plan. Over the next several months,
there will be numerous meetings, dialogues, symposia, and Web-based
conversations about the plan, with every constituency on campus
being tapped for ideas and responses in order to "gain consensus
and develop a plan that resonates with the aspirations of the
constituents of the institution," says Creighton. "The
first draft of the plan is propositional and invites discussion
and debate," she said at the October 2 faculty meeting, during
which the faculty engaged in a lively discussion of the proposed
plan. A series of follow-up meetings for the community are already
scheduled (see sidebar
on page two), and more are in the planning stages.
Movement toward greater
focus and coordination in virtually every area of the College
is the major thrust of the draft. One of its most significant
and far-reaching suggestions is a call for an evaluation by the
faculty of the College's curriculum and degree requirements.
This would be done with an eye toward increasing connections among
disciplines and encouraging interdisciplinary clustering of interest.
Creighton clarifies that what is proposed is a "plan to plan,"
rather than a set of proposals for immediate implementation. "It
asks that we take the next few years both to reflect together
about the challenges of educating students for twenty-first century
realities and to look for opportunities to improve the curriculum,
the way we organize ourselves, and the overall effectiveness of
It is suggested in
the draft that an emphasis on key themesleadership, environmental
awareness and stewardship, and diversity and global awarenessshould
permeate the curricular and cocurricular life of the College.
Also proposed is the strengthening of academic advising; the building
of a new residence hall; changes in January Term offerings; strengthening
links to the Five Colleges and local community; increasing the
number of and proportion of tenure-track faculty; engaging alumnae
and staff more fully in the life and work of the College; creating
greater integration of technology; and sustaining a strong financial
position by increasing the Annual Fund total per year and planning
for a new fundraising campaign, envisioned to commence in 2007.
Read the full draft
of the plan, as well as a synopsis of it, at www.mtholyoke.edu/committees/planning/index.shtml.
To contribute your feedback, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or send your ideas via campus mail
to the president's office c/o planning.