Committee seeks student input for ten-year strategic plan

Tammy Tran

This spring, Lawrence will finalize its 2010-2020 strategic plan. The strategic plan is aimed at establishing a range of objectives for the college and conservatory, in areas such as academic programming, community connections, technology, sustainability and finance.

The set of documents will essentially highlight the shared goals and ambitions of the Lawrence community and include strategies on how the goals will be achieved. Lawrence’s 10-year strategic vision includes six major goals.

The first is to enhance the transformative nature of our education and improve academic programs. The second ambition is centered on community connections on campus, planning to increase diversity, connect student developmental goals to residential life programming, integrate athletics with wellness and ensure that governing structures actually work. The third will endeavor to better prepare students for life after Lawrence, helping them to develop effective leadership skills and facilitate networks between students and faculty.

Fourth in the strategic vision is an investment in environmental sustainability to make sure that campus buildings and policies are environmentally responsible. Included in this ambition is a plan to combine educational opportunities for students with civic responsibility in promoting sustainability.

Facility and technology issues will be on the forefront within the next 10 years as the fifth ambition of the strategic plan. On the top of the list is converting the former Jason Downer Commons into a building that will be useful to the Lawrence community. Additionally, this ambition includes discussing occupancy rates for student housing, updating technology in classrooms and making sure that capital equipment is being replaced.

The final ambition is to strengthen Lawrence’s financial position. This includes integrating a long range of financial and strategic planning together and fulfilling specific goals on tuition revenue, spending, endowment and financial aid. As of now, these specific financial goals have not yet been determined.

Before the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan, Lawrence had only one other written five-year plan.

Professor of Biology and Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science Beth De Stasio, co-chair of the Strategic Planning Task Force, noted that the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan has involved “more of an inclusive process in producing the plan than in the first one.”

De Stasio noted, “The previous plan was on a very short time line, so there wasn’t enough time to be inclusive. This time around, we’ve reached out to all constituencies of the college and everyone has had a voice about where they think we should go and what we should do. That’s been very good.”

“The strategic planning task force is representative of all the areas on campus,” De Stasio continued. “We have two students, faculty members, staff members and two trustees who are also alumni. Pretty much all the campus constituents are represented in the task force and have a voice.”

LUCC has been an active campus constituent in creating the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan. Said 2010-2011 LUCC president Andy King, “The Planning Committee has utilized LUCC because it is the voice of the students and faculty and its elected members are responsible for gathering student opinions and reflecting them.”

King continued, “LUCC has also utilized one of its standing committees, Student Welfare, to provide more detailed feedback on a more regular basis. In addition, LUCC appointed students to the Strategic Planning Committee.”

Junior Eric Murray is one of two LUCC representatives on the Strategic Planning Committee. According to Murray, Lawrentians interested in contributing their ideas to the strategic plan still have time before the documents are finalized in the spring.

“There often seems to be an ever-present sense of confusion among students with the direction Lawrence is headed in,” said Murray. “For those who fall into this category, I beg you to come out and discuss your concerns with the two chairs, Eric Weinlander and [me]…Change won’t occur overnight, though it will occur more easily once we all understand where we stand and where we wish to be. The content of this plan will affect each and every student.”

The Strategic Planning Task Force is currently reaching out to student groups for input. In addition to the LUCC student welfare committee, the task force has also collaborated with student groups, including the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as well as residence halls and both the incoming and outgoing leadership boards of LUCC.

Said De Stasio, “Most residence halls have a written version of the plan blown up that people can write on. We’ll be collecting all those. You can talk to your LUCC reps, come to a meeting scheduled in a residence hall, send input directly to the strategic planning task force at stratplan@lawrence.edu.”

De Stasio continued, “We’re in the process of getting feedback on a draft plan from all campus entities. We’ve just extended that deadline by one week and will then be collating those things in. We’ll be using that input to set priorities. Then it will have to go to the faculty for a vote in April, and in May will be presented to the Board of Trustees.”

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