Open and Inclusive Strategic Planning Process Proposed

By Dan Verderosa, August 27, 2018
A draft process for creating IC’s next strategic plan was among the topics discussed at the fall semester All-College Gathering.

Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado and others introduced a blueprint for the college’s strategic planning process with a commitment to transparency and inclusiveness during the fall semester All-College Gathering on Thursday, August 23, in Emerson Suites.

 “This will be a collaborative and inclusive effort, one that addresses the priorities that we shared with one another last year, and honors the foundational work of our community that’s already been done,” said Collado.

The institution-wide strategic plan will likely encompass three to five years, with built in opportunities for reassessment, Collado said.

The Strategic Planning Process Unveiled

The beginning steps in the proposed strategic planning process were presented to the campus community by members of the strategic plan design team. Chaired by associate professor of history Jason Freitag, the team spent the summer designing the process through which the plan will be created. They stressed that the process will be inclusive of voices that have historically been underrepresented and provide meaningful opportunities for the individuals to contribute.

“By meaningful, we don’t just mean more opportunities for individuals to contribute, but rather, really charging the working groups and the steering committee to listen and be prepared to take those contributions from the community seriously,” said design team member Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity.

Design team member Benjamin Costello, executive director of advancement services, stressed that community contributions would be proactively sought out, stressing that a few public meetings would not suffice. “We are going to find ways to get people’s input, even if they’re trying to hide from us,” he said to laughter from those in attendance.

Explore the Plan:

Complete details on the proposed strategic planning process can be found at

The team also emphasized that the process would be transparent, maintaining a wide-ranging communications plan and incorporating feedback loops to ensure that participants see their input reflected at all stages of the process.

The planning process will also empower participants to think boldly. “We don’t want to just cut and paste from another school’s plan,” said Gonzalez. “We are unique and we want to reflect all of who we are and who we have the potential to be.”

Chaired by Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish and Freitag, a steering committee comprising faculty, staff, students, trustees and community members will be responsible for overseeing the planning process. Nominations for the committee can be made online.

Get Involved:

Help shape the future of IC by submitting feedback on the proposed strategic planning process and nominating yourself or others to the steering committee. Feedback and nominations must be received by September 15.

The proposed timeline calls for the drafting of goals and objectives to be done by the end of the spring 2019 semester, after which the steering committee will create a draft strategic plan to be presented to the campus community for feedback in fall 2019.

Two hour-long meetings will be held on September 13, at 9 a.m. and noon, for members of the campus community to ask questions about the proposed planning process. Feedback can also be provided online until September 15.

Celebrating the Past Year and Looking Forward

Collado opened the All-College Gathering by reflecting on the previous year, during which Ithaca College celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding, and looking forward to the future.

“As we saw very strongly during our 125th anniversary celebrations, Ithaca College is a place that not only encourages but sustains innovation and excellence,” said Collado. “This is why I fell in love with you in the first place. This is so important to us as we look ahead and really invest in the future of our next 125 years. Our new chapter begins now.”

Collado honored the inaugural cohort of President’s Fellows, who will begin their work this semester, and announced that applications for the 2019–2020 cohort will open this fall. The President’s Fellows Program is a one-year fellowship that moves participants outside of their normal work environment and field to experience new professional opportunities on campus, develop leadership capabilities and receive mentorship in an unfamiliar area of interest.

Collado also announced that another round of President’s Seed Grants will be available this year. The seed grant initiative was created by Collado as a way to lay the foundation for the strategic planning process. In addition, Collado announced that one of last year’s seed grant initiatives – pop-up pubs intended to give faculty, students and staff opportunities to interact in a relaxed environment – will be fully funded for the 2018–19 academic year.

Cornish introduced two new initiatives sponsored by the Office of the Provost designed to celebrate and empower Ithaca College’s faculty.

Organized in conjunction with the Center for Faculty Excellence, the Provost Colloquium Series will feature the work of faculty members who spent the previous year on sabbatical, as well as the work of Dana professors. “Ithaca faculty are involved in exciting research, and the colloquium series is designed to make visible the amazing work being done by our faculty,” said Cornish.

The Chair’s Academy will bring together department chairs from the college’s five schools in order to elevate their roles on campus.

Collado also gave several important updates from around the college:

  • Enrollment for the 2018–19 academic year exceeded expectations, with a total enrollment of 1,655 students for the Class of 2022. Of those students, 24.7 percent identify as students of color and 280 are first-generation college students.
  • The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life hired the college’s first-ever director of religious and spiritual life, Hierald Osorto.
  • The college is piloting its first orientation program for first-generation students in order to help ensure their success, called First Look.
  • The college’s overall financial health is good, and the endowment continues to increase, standing now at $309 million.
  • Thanks to the college’s transition to all-renewable electricity, more energy efficient computing equipment and building infrastructure improvements, the campus’s carbon footprint is on track to drop 45 percent this year.
  • The college completed the first stage of a complete revamping of

All-college gatherings are held at the beginning of each semester and provide an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to celebrate the start of the new term and discuss the business of the college.