In late 2010 Interim President Marlene Gerber Fried appointed a strategic planning committee to lead a process of community visioning and discussion, and to draft a strategic plan for the College. During the winter and spring the committee held a series of ideation sessions led by Hampshire alum Jay Vogt. Hundreds of students, staff, and faculty participated in a process that many found cathartic and inspiring after a period of turbulent transition. Based on those sessions and the efforts of numerous working groups the committee drafted the “Hampshire College Strategic Plan 2011-2016,” which articulated a list of 41 projects and ideas in 18 areas, including in excess of $100 million in new construction, remodeling, urgent maintenance, and new programs.
The plan did not set priorities among the pressing needs it identified, and, beyond suggesting a need to increase fundraising and seek new sources of revenue, the plan did not identify means for funding the projects listed.
The College has made progress on projects set forth in the 2011 plan. In just over two years we have completed action on 15 goals, made progress on 14 more, and left only 12 of the goals unaddressed, in many cases because the costs were substantial and funds were not available. A wide range of students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and alumni have participated in those successes.
The constraints of the 2011 planning process did not allow time for the committee to gather information on external trends, or key threats and opportunities, and that is critically important for us now. Political, economic, and demographic trends are creating new challenges for higher education, Hampshire students, and our approach to education. In this world of constant change we can choose our direction or be swept along by outside forces. In this connected world if we do not actively define our purpose and describe what we do, others will define us anecdotally. It is time for us to build on the work done in 2011 to create an expanded plan that enables us as a community to:
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