Thank you for your Input!

Dear Hope Campus Community:

On behalf of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, we thank you for the valuable and thoughtful feedback on the draft plan prior to spring break.  The committee recognizes the commitment hundreds of you made by attending sessions, sending suggestions through the online feedback form, and discussing the plan with your colleagues.  We appreciate the hours you invested, and we honor your contributions as an important part of the strategic planning process.


The plan is being modified in meaningful ways based on your feedback.  A final draft will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the beginning of April and may be further revised prior to their meeting at the end of April.  We appreciate your patient engagement in this process, and look forward to the phase of implementation.


It seems there is scarce time to catch our breath as the college races toward end of the academic year and prepares to send another class of graduates to be agents of hope around the world.  We pray for God’s grace and peace to be with you as we move through this important season in the life of the college.



John Knapp and Nancy DeWitt

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Co-Chairs

Strategic Planning Update – Extending the Timeline

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Since late October, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been drafting objectives and key performance indicators for each of the six strategic plan goals unanimously affirmed by our Board of Trustees.  The work has gone incredibly well thus far, and the committee’s highest priority is to complete the process in a way that reflects the college’s collaborative effort to date and produces a thoughtful and deliberate strategic plan.

At the onset of this strategic planning process, the steering committee adopted a timeline to complete a strategic plan in early January.   The committee has determined that the timeline should be extended into the spring in order for the committee to continue their work, provide ample time for the campus to review the plan and have feedback considered before the final draft is presented to the Board of Trustees prior to their spring meeting.   We value community engagement as a hallmark of our strategic planning process and want to continue that through this final stage of writing and refining the plan.  We know that a few extra weeks of planning now will result in a better plan, better implementation, and shared success in the future.

As we enter the final week of the academic year, we want to recognize you for the investment of time and energy you have made in your students, your scholarly work, and your programs over the last several months.  You have been engaging students in their intellectual, spiritual and interpersonal growth, leading programs with distinction and diligence, and creating an environment that supports our students, faculty and staff.  Your efforts are recognized and valued.

Best wishes to you as you finish the semester, and blessings to you and your loved ones this Christmas season.

John C. Knapp, President and Professor

Nancy Dirkse DeWitt, Trustee

Co-Chairs, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Strategic Planning Update

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 <>, who is managing the planning process.

With gratitude for your service,

John Knapp