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Charge to the committee

President's charge to the Strategic Planning Committee
September 13, 2005

You have a challenging task before you, and I thank you for agreeing to serve on this committee whose work will help shape the future of Gettysburg College. As we prepare to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the College next year, we find ourselves in an enviable position. Each year, more academically accomplished students apply to Gettysburg in large part because we have attracted a superb faculty that in its teaching, research, and creative work compares favorably with the best in the country. We offer an innovative new curriculum, a rich diversity of opportunities for off-campus learning, and distinctive programs. We are a nationally recognized top liberal arts college, but we have higher aspirations.

As we begin planning for the next decade of accomplishment at Gettysburg College, we have three overarching goals:

  • To provide the best, most compelling all-around liberal arts experience possible for our students
  • To strengthen the college's national reputation, which we believe does not accurately reflect the excellence we have already attained
  • To capitalize on the College's distinctive strengths.

As the steering committee, your charge is to confer with the College's constituencies: faculty and staff, alumni, students, parents, and friends to identify and prioritize those ideas that hold the most promise for accomplishing our goals and to prepare a ten-year strategic plan by the end of the 2005-2006 academic year. In the tradition of Gettysburg College, this process will be collaborative and transparent. Communication will be a key part of your work, and a centralized strategic plan section of the College's web site is being designed as one vehicle to keep the college community informed of your activity.

Your work will reflect the mission and shared values of the Gettysburg College community. It will also build on the following assumptions that-after a year of careful assessment-I believe characterize the College's current position.

  • Gettysburg is unique and distinctive in ways that few liberal arts colleges are.
  • Gettysburg is ambitious and aspirational.
  • We are one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
  • We want to become even better.
  • Our location and place in American history are key elements of our distinctiveness.
  • Gettysburg has momentum. We want to continue that forward motion.
  • We are dedicated to excellence and will work continually to build the quality of the all-around experience we offer to our students.
  • We must increase our resources.
  • We want to enhance our national reputation.

Our strategic plan must deliver on our promise:

We will prepare students to lead energetic, engaged, and enlightened lives.

In the attached document, I have outlined my vision of several ways we can deliver on that promise. I offer this as a starting point for your deliberations. Within the document, I offer a framework that may be useful as you organize the planning material, but I understand other frameworks might serve your work as well. My charge is, however, that your recommended plans, programs, and actions relate demonstrably to this Gettysburg College promise above.

This plan will also establish an overarching framework for making the necessary choices - for deciding, as a College, that while many objectives are important, we are not blessed with unlimited resources, and we must make the tough decisions that will move us closer to the realization of our goals.

If it is to be worth our time and effort, this planning process must not only enable us to address our challenges, it ultimately must inspire us to unprecedented achievements - new levels of excellence - in pursuit of our distinctive educational mission.

Do great work.

Gettysburg College 300 North Washington Street · Gettysburg, PA 17325
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