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News Archive, Office of the President

The Vision 2020 Initiative – Message from the President

Dear Members of the Mount Ida Community,

During the past three years, with the extraordinary involvement and commitment of our entire community, Mount Ida has succeeded in ways that were not imaginable in 2012. Enrollment has grown over 20 percent, as has the academic standing of our entering classes.

We have done this while at the same time maintaining our commitment to diversity, including students who are the first in their families to seek a college degree. In fact, we educate one of the most diverse student populations among all of our peer institutions.

Growth of our student population has been supported by a concomitant range of actions that seem quite extraordinary in such a short period of time: new deans, a faculty senate to involve our professors more deeply in the issues facing the college, a concerted initiative led by the Division of Student Affairs to develop student campus involvement, including community engagement, effective student government and campus organizations and a rejuvenated campus with restored student facilities, design school building and new laboratories, as part of the initial phase of planning and construction of new academic space, athletic and residence halls.

None of this could have been accomplished without the dedication and commitment of each of you to this institution and to the belief that what happens at this college is important, not only to the future of each student who studies here, but as a contributor to change and growth in higher education. For your commitment, energy and accomplishments, I am extremely grateful.

So now, with that same commitment, we enter the next phase of our growth. We need to begin to imagine what the next decade holds in store for our College and how we can shape and direct its future. We will soon undertake our self-study as part of the NEASC accreditation process. However, as part of the continuum of that process, we need to develop a vision of our future. In the months before that self-study begins, I ask you to join with your colleagues to think about Mount Ida a decade hence and what you would like our future to be: faculty, students, staff alumni, campus, pedagogy, image and mission. This will be the time to imagine.

As a starting point, we should take as a point of departure the strategic goals that guided us during our most recently completed Strategic Plan:

1. We shall deliver career-relevant, experiential programs integrated with a foundation in communication, analytic and critical thinking skills

2. We shall focus on rigorous assessment of student learning and institutional outcomes

3. We shall be a diverse, engaged community focused on student success

4. We shall provide a sustainable campus environment that fosters engagement and pride

To those I would add an additional goal for the next plan:

5. We shall provide our students and faculty with the financial physical resources to achieve success

As I look around the campus today, I see evidence of how far we have come in achieving these core goals, thanks to the efforts of everyone on this campus.  At the same time, these achievements are but the foundation of the next phase of our growth, as our success leads us to a new set of strategic questions:

– What should the College look like in 2020: what will our target enrollment be; who will our students be; what new programs might be added; how do we continue to differentiate ourselves in a crowded higher education environment?
– How will we accommodate our targeted growth: what facilities and resources will we need; how will we finance our initiatives; what infrastructure and technology resources will we need; what will be the role of advancement and development?
– How will the College continue to serve and support its core constituents – students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community?
– How do we represent the College, externally, in a way that effectively communicates and reflects the institution that we have become?

Many of you have participated in the development of our Strategic Enrollment Plan (SEP) which has mapped out a number of core initiatives in the areas of academics, co-curricular programs, student life and facilities. That document will serve to drive our admissions and retention efforts and gradually increase our enrollment to a target goal.  The SEP will also serve as the core document for the process we are about to begin, as we imagine the future of Mount Ida. While our previous strategic plan looked inward to solve many of the issues that faced the College in 2012, the success of that strategic plan permits us to look forward. This new initiative, VISION 2020, will be oriented toward growth, with a much stronger external orientation.  Our plan is to begin the VISION 2020 process this month, with a goal of presenting a completed plan to the Board of Trustees in the spring.

The Strategic Planning Process

Our approach to the planning process will be compact, collaborative and transparent and respectful of different viewpoints as we proceed.  There will be opportunities for all who are interested to have input into the process. The planning process will be guided by the following principles:

-Transparent, open and collaborative
-Respectful of views of all members of the community
-Comprehensive and open to all stakeholders
-Objective, externally aware and data-driven decision making
-Efficient and effective, expedited  but not hasty
-Focus upon fewer, high-impact, actionable and integrated strategies versus many diffuse ones
-Student-centered and supportive of faculty
-Organization, culture, resource allocation and metrics will be core components

As with our previous plan, the process will result in an Action Plan with measurable goals and benchmarks linked to specific strategies and initiatives.  We will establish a timeline for achieving each strategic goal, and identify the individuals and institution groups responsible for reaching those goals.


December – Review plan with Administrative Council/Committee Formed

January – Kick-Off Meeting/SEP completed

February – Working Group Activity

March – Draft for Community Comment

April – Revisions and Final Draft/Plan sent to Board

May – Board Approval

The Team:

In order to undertake the Strategic Initiative I have appointed a Strategic Planning Committee which draws upon the broad College community.  The Committee will be co-chaired by Ron Akie, Laura DeVeau, Jill Abrahams and Jackie Palmer.  They will be joined by members of the community representing faculty, staff, students and trustees.

Co-Chairs: Ronald Akie, Provost | Jackie Palmer, Professor | Laura DeVeau, VP Student Affairs | Jill Abrahams, VP Advancement

Committee Members: Mary Corcoran, CIO | Jason Potts, CFO | Jeff Cutting, VP Enrollment Management | Jen Golojuch, Asst. Dean for Campus Living | Joseph Rios, Asst. Dir. Campus Ctr. and Ops. | Rob Brooks, Dir. of Career Services | Dyan Teehan, Director of SFS | Matthew Burke, Director of Athletics | Jerome Dean, Director of Institutional Research | Lynn Zlotkowski, Dir. CONNECT | Faculty representatives | one adjunct faculty member | Deans TBA | Students TBA | Trustees TBA

As we embark on this important work, I wish to offer my appreciation to the Chairs, the Committee and all of you who will participate in this process. My grateful thanks to the entire Mount Ida community for your support as we continue to evolve Mount Ida College into a model for 21st century higher education.



Barry Brown