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2013-2014 Strategic Planning Process

We are coming to the final stages of our strategic planning process. Over the past seven months our consultants, Keeling & Associates (K&A) and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) held 146 meetings, collecting comments, ideas, and questions from 1,350 participants. The strategic planning survey yielded 850 responses and 6,700 narrative comments. The common themes and concerns that emerged from that process formed a key part of the input for an intense, thoughtful and productive two-day retreat among members of the SPSC and the Monday Group. At the retreat we drafted mission and vision statements, five strategic priorities, and 23 objectives.

I was profoundly impressed by the work of our colleagues from the SPSC and the Monday Group, and encouraged by the results of their work. We all struggled to reflect the most important themes we heard in the comments from the campus, and to focus on a set of priorities that we believe lay out a positive path for the future, respond to key concerns, and can actually be implemented. I am convinced that this plan will enable Hampshire to amplify its impact, continue to innovate and build on its extraordinary pedagogy, and strengthen its financial position.

I will present the strategic plan to Hampshire's Board for review and approval and convene the Implementation Planning Group to begin identifying the projects we will undertake to carry out the plan. Much of that work will be done over the summer, with a period of community consultation in early fall.

We realized that there is one missing piece on which we will seek additional consultation and advice from our community next fall. Hampshire is a values driven community and we thought it would be important to articulate those values explicitly. I will establish and announce a process to secure your input soon.

I want to thank the SPSC, the Monday Group, and every community member who assisted in this important process.


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:

  • Build a shared vision and direction for Hampshire's future;
  • Define who we are, what differentiates us and how we communicate that to the world;
  • Create tools we can use to enhance resources and build applications;
  • Lay out a path to financial sustainability.

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