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A Plan to Plan: The Plan for
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October 11, 2002

A Plan to Plan: The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010

Even 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.

"The Plan 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 world."

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 Subcommittees—the 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.

The Draft

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 the College."

It is suggested in the draft that an emphasis on key themes—leadership, environmental awareness and stewardship, and diversity and global awareness—should 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 To contribute your feedback, email or send your ideas via campus mail to the president's office c/o planning.

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Copyright © 2002 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Office of Communications and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on October 11, 2002.

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