Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
I am writing on behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee to update you as we complete the data-analysis phase of our work and begin setting priorities that will shape our 10-year goals. I am pleased to report that much work has been completed and the process remains on schedule. Here is a summary of our recent progress:
Between March 1 and June 30, ten Study Groups comprising faculty, staff and students analyzed a wealth of information on the college’s major challenges and opportunities. This work involved:
- approximately 130 staff, faculty and students serving in formal capacities;
- over 60 Study Group and Steering Committee meetings;
- more than 200 internal and external data sources utilized by Study Groups;
- ten external experts supporting several study areas;
- over 330 hours invested by the Hope Evaluation, Assessment and Research Center (formerly Carl Frost Social Science Research Center) in developing, implementing, analyzing and reporting the strategic planning survey; and
- at least 60 colleges and universities researched for comparisons, best practices, and innovative programs.
Each Study Group produced a final report that included an analysis of Hope’s current state, the environmental factors that will influence Hope in the future, and priority issues and opportunities that will require the Steering Committee’s attention when developing the strategic plan. This research was informed by hundreds of questions proposed by faculty, staff and trustees, as well as analyses of campus data and information, best-practice reviews, expert testimony, and many of hours of discussion and critical thought about how we will grow in national and international stature as both a premier liberal arts college and a leader in Christ-centered higher education. I know I speak for every member of the Steering Committee when I say the insights of the Study Groups have proven to be invaluable.
To augment the information from Study Groups, the Steering Committee commissioned a multi-constituent survey to gauge the opinions and priorities of faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents. Conducted by the Hope Evaluation, Assessment and Research (HEAR) Center, it collected input from approximately 5,000 respondents, yielding a rich source of data to inform the strategic planning process. Highlights of these findings will be shared in campus meetings after fall semester begins.
Just last week the Steering Committee met with Study Group representatives to review survey findings and the ten reports. An external facilitator led a two-day session where the Steering Committee identified a limited number of themes that we will continue to evaluate over the next two months. These themes are broad, cross-divisional and relevant to the college’s most critical issues and opportunities. We will continue to seek input from the campus community as this work proceeds.
As we prepare to welcome our newest Hope students in just a few short weeks, we are reminded of the purpose of this strategic planning work. Co-Chair Nancy DeWitt and I appreciate all the ways our campus community has contributed to this process thus far and look forward to continuing to engage you in the months ahead. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact me or Mary Remenschneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who is managing the planning process.
With gratitude for your service,