Planning for Mount Holyoke's Future
BY EMILY HARRISON WEIR
RIGHT: Joanne Creighton holds the key to the original Mount Holyoke Seminary building, and wears a newly minted presidential medallion.
A recording of President Creighton's inaugural address can be heard using RealAudio.
PRESIDENT CREIGHTON the same eager question during her first months on campus:
"What are your plans for Mount Holyoke?" Though Creighton insists that she
has no pre-fab agenda, she is ready with answers.
First on her list is getting to know the College well: "I have been reading you, oh Mount Holyoke, in document, memo, newspaper, catalog, report, and email, but now I want to know you in the flesh," she told the convocation crowd in January.
"I want to get out and about, to see you in your natural habitat, to let strength and the character and concerns of the College rise up out of the place, out of conversations with all of you." Since then, Creighton has been listening as well as talking, and tackling inevitable differences of opinion by respectfully hearing all sides and working toward consensus.
Massive information-gathering is key to Creighton's overarching first-year goal: to lead the College in developing "a clearly articulated sense of the central mission, purposes, goals, and aspirations of Mount Holyoke now and for the immediate future." Toward this end, Creighton launched a major planning initiative in her second month on the job. "We need a set of goals and priorities that will guide us over the next several years, and a set of actions designed to implement them," she explained. "It will give shape and substance to our collective aspiration to make Mount Holyoke and a Mount Holyoke education all it can be."
The president chairs an Educational Priorities Committee (EPC) that is consulting broadly with campus groups and individuals about the College's academic mission, goals, and priorities. In March, five professors were named to the EPC, which is expected to conclude its work with a draft report by fall.
Stage two of the planning process will have a broader scope and "develop a plan of institutional goals and intentions for the next five years, designed to implement the mission and priorities," according to Creighton. This stage will be the responsibility of a College Planning Task Force to be composed of EPC faculty and senior administrators. The goals are to have a draft plan finished by February 1997, and to have the completed document approved by College trustees by May 1997.
In just over a year's time, the comprehensive planning process Creighton began should provide the College community with a vision of where Mount Holyoke can and should go as it enters the twenty-first century.