ICQ 2002/4 --- The President's Five-Year Report


Strategic Planning

In 1998 I asked a group of faculty and staff members, senior administrators, and students to undertake a strategic planning process that would guide institutional decision making in the next decades. Nearly 400 people contributed to the process, led by the All-College Planning and Priorities Committee. Their efforts culminated in the Ithaca College Institutional Plan, which reaffirms our identity as a residential teaching college with an emphasis on the highest quality undergraduate education. It clearly defines the essential priorities of the College as: academic program development, diversity, enrollment, experiential and performance-based learning, facilities, quality of student life and work life, resource development, and technology. The plan outlines goals in each area, as well as implementation strategies and key performance indicators.

The board of trustees endorsed the plan in spring 2001. Strategic planning is an ongoing process, but as early as a year after the planís adoption we were able to report substantial progress in a number of areas.

Facilities Improvement

When I took office five years ago, the College was in the midst of several major construction projects begun by my predecessor, the late James J. Whalen. Two years later, when we opened the new Center for Health Sciences, the expanded music building (named for Jim Whalen), and the Fitness Center, it seemed as though the campus had undergone a partial rebirth. The impact of these state-of-the-art facilities --- on morale, on our ability to attract and retain top-notch students and faculty, and on the quality of campus life (hours for the Fitness Center had to be extended last year to accommodate heavy use) --- cannot be overestimated.

With the heightened enthusiasm they generated came a realization that much more had to be done to upgrade, renovate, and modernize the College's infrastructure. Most of our buildings were constructed in the 1960s and early 1970s, and while they have aged reasonably well, the demands posed by new technologies, shifting academic interests, emerging fields of study, and student and faculty expectations dictate that we bring the campus into the 21st century.

As a consequence, with the assistance of the architectural firm of Sasaki Associates we undertook a careful study of current facilities, projected needs, and the College's physical environment. The result was a Campus Master Plan, adopted in February 2002, that gives physical expression to the goals spelled out by the Institutional Plan and provides a road map for major projects and campus land use for the next 20 years.

The highest priorities are a new building for the School of Business, a field house, improved and expanded space for student services and administrative offices, and additional office space for other academic programs, especially the School of Humanities and Sciences. In addition, some campus roadways and parking lots will be relocated to create new open spaces. Together, the elements of the plan will bring a better sense of community to the many components that make up the College and take advantage of the spectacular beauty of its natural surroundings.

Many institutions would pursue such an ambitious agenda only as part of a comprehensive capital campaign, but we have decided not to wait to get started. We have already formed several volunteer committees to begin working on strategies for funding our top priorities. We also have reallocated some internal funds to carry out the master plan and have budgeted for increased debt to help us carry it out. With any luck, the sounds of construction will be heard on campus again in the very near future --- a minor nuisance for those who work and study here but an important manifestation of our determination to translate our plans into reality. You can read more about the campus master plan in the next issue of the Ithaca College Quarterly.

Highlights of the Years

1997 - 8 . . .

President Peggy R. Williams arrives on campus to assume her duties, succeeding James J. Whalen.

Christopher Harper is named the first Roy H. Park Distinguished Chair in Communications.

The interdisciplinary environmental science degree program is approved by the New York State Department of Education.

President Peggy R. Williams is inaugurated. The campus holds its first Day of Service in commemoration; it will grow into the annual Celebration of Service.

The College hosts a panel on the impact of stereotyping on education in conjunction with President Bill Clinton's National Initiative on Race.

The gymnastics team (above) wins the Division III National Collegiate Gymnastics Association Championship for the first time.

The College receives full reaccreditation for the next 10 years from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The College receives a $516,000 grant from W. M. Keck Foundation to establish and support new computer laboratories for humanities (see story, "Digitizing the Humanities").

Photo by Tim McKinney




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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 7 January, 2003