Dear Ithaca College Community:

Since our last update on March 22, the theme-based working groups and the steering committee have kept up their aggressive pace meeting together and conducting research and outreach with groups of faculty, staff, and students across the campus and in each school.

We also have held two of our three scheduled meetings to gather input from local nonprofit, business, government, and educational leaders. The turnout and the level of discussion have been remarkable so far: it is clear that our local partners are eager to deepen our ties and our shared impact on the community. We look forward to the third session on April 9.

On March 26, about 50 members of the steering committee and the three working groups gathered for a two-hour plenary session to find areas of overlap emerging from the different work streams. To do this, we divided into a few groups and focused our conversation on two core topics:

What is an idea for a cross-college initiative that has come up so far? What would it take to implement it? What are some of the barriers to address?

What is an idea for a cross-sector partnership idea that has come up so far? What would it take to implement it? What are some of the barriers to address?

As with every workshop held so far, we’ve captured all these ideas and will be rolling them into the comprehensive set of information that we will analyze, synthesize, and share back out to the campus. Our next plenary for the steering committee and working groups will be April 16.

Please be on the lookout for open sessions or small workshop invitations so that you can share your ideas and listen to what others are saying. You can contact Jason Freitag if you would like members of the committee to visit your team, club, or office. You don’t have to be a senior administrative leader to request some time to talk with them!

Updates from the Working Group Chairs

Below are updates from the working group co-chairs about their progress and upcoming efforts:

INTERCONNECTIONS Among Disciplines, Schools, Partners

Meetings: The Interconnections Working Group met as a whole on February 25 and March 18 and held three smaller group meetings hosted by one of the three co-chairs (Paula Ioanide, Bonnie Prunty, and Chris McNamara) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the weeks of March 4 and April 25. We also held a brainstorming meeting in the Park School on April 3.

Discussions, decisions or conclusions: The Interconnections Working Group has 26 members representing numerous departments across campus and includes faculty, staff, and students. We have devoted the first few weeks of our time together to gathering feedback from as many constituents as we can on the topic of interconnections across disciplines, departments, schools, as well as cross-partner collaborations and community engagement. Each working group member identified three communities they are a part of and hosted brainstorming sessions with those groups to get a sense of what the IC community is interested in developing as a vision for the college.

On March 18, we hosted Nicole Eversley Bradwell (Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Admission) and Dr. Luvelle Brown (trustee and Ithaca City School District Superintendent) to give our group a sense of the type of student that IC can expect in the future, and they spoke about Generation Z and their desire for flexibility, innovation, and hands-on learning.

That same day, we also heard from Dr. Tanya Saunders, who has extensive institutional memory on the development of interdisciplinary and international programs at IC, who spoke about past systemic barriers to interdisciplinarity and collaboration and possible visions for the future.

Upcoming activity: We have gathered data from over 20 brainstorming sessions with IC constituents and are moving toward analyzing the feedback to determine themes, goals, and objectives articulated by our constituents related to Interconnections.
We will stop gathering feedback by April 12 and move toward refining the working group’s goals and objectives. We will continue to meet every week until May.

Questions? Contact any of the three chairs:

EVOLUTION of Students, Curriculum, College

Meetings: The Evolution Working Group held full working group meetings February 25, March 18, and April 1. Sub-groups have been meeting 1-2 hours every other week and meeting with campus departments to gather information and ideas. We also held brainstorming sessions in the School of Music during the week of March 25-29.

Discussions, decisions or conclusions: We are working to find commonalities between Curriculum, Enrollment and Transformative Student Experience. We have discussed:

  • How curriculum can exemplify our mission and lead us towards our vision
  • Who the students of the future are and what would they choose for curriculum which leads to a transformative experience
  • If the vision is reached, mission fulfilled, and values manifested, what will that transformation look like and what would students experience
  • Market strategies, enrollment processes, financial aid packages, program caps are areas that need to be closely looked at for potential changes from campus-wide to the school level to the department level

Important topics rising to the top that students at IC are looking for include advising, mentorship, collaboration among schools/programs, common schedules, flexibility of majors, cross-curricular experiences, experiential learning, support systems, and improved support for transfer students.

Upcoming activity: We have scheduled full working group meetings for April 1, April 15, April 29, and May 13, and sub-group meetings for the weeks of April 8-12 and 22-26.

Questions? Contact any of the three chairs:

INVESTMENT in People, Place, Planet

Meetings: The Investment Working Group conducted brainstorming sessions on March 4, 5, and 12, along with the following focused topical discussions:

  • March 19: Prioritization Focus on Place (Presentations by David Weil and Tim Carey)
  • March 21: Prioritization Focus on Planet (Presentation by Greg Lischke)                                                                                                                    
  • March 22: Prioritization Focus on People (Presentation by Casey Kendall)

Discussions, decisions or conclusions: We have combined information from open sessions, the February board of trustees session, and strategic planning brainstorming sessions. Central to the ideas are flexibility and cooperation. Flexibility includes multiple uses, multiple stakeholders, service delivery, and revenue generation. Cooperation includes multiple stakeholders, multiple organizations, service delivery, and revenue generation.

Upcoming activity: Over the next week the co-chairs are diving deeper into the ideas that have been expressed or generated. Next tasks are to review these; fill in gaps; add any new items coming from additional sessions/forums; prioritize according to which ones are big/small or more/less important; start to reframe the goal/objective format; and check agreement with the mission, vision, and values statements.

Questions? Contact either of these co-chairs:

We'd like to thank the working groups and their co-chairs for the wise and focused work they've done since forming. And, thank you once again for everything you are doing to help us together imagine a bold future for Ithaca College.


La Jerne Terry Cornish
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jason Freitag
Associate Professor, History

Imagining Ithaca Co-Chairs