The draft “white paper”

The draft “white paper”

The final campus conversation will be a discussion of a “white paper” about W&M as a liberal arts university in the 21st century. Download the draft “white paper” (pdf) for review prior to the April 8, 2010 discussion at 4:00PM in Millington 150. Your comments here on the blog are welcome. Or, you may prefer

Strategic Planning

We are moving forward on several fronts. We have an active discussion about W&M as a leading liberal arts university in the 21st century that is well underway. We will soon begin enrollment in a new minor in marine science. We have established a cross-disciplinary center for Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education for K-12 teachers. Our students have led the way in finding new opportunities to build and celebrate W&M as a lifetime experience, including changes to Welcome Week, Convocation and Charter Day Weekend. We plan to break ground this summer on the new student residence next to the WaWa on Richmond Road. We completed a comprehensive review of communications at W&M and implemented a number of changes, including the merger of two units into a new Office of Creative Services.
Those are just a few of the 102 implementation steps we identified for this year. And that is just the beginning. Each year the six subcommittees formed around the “grand challenges,” will continue their work in developing implementation steps for the coming academic year. For next year the subcommittees and the Planning Steering Committee (PSC) are developing fewer but more focused implementation steps. And in order to measure our progress, a subcommittee on assessment, in conjunction with the individual subcommittees and the entire PSC, has been developing and refining measures that would constitute a “dashboard” of the major areas covered in the strategic plan.
We are very pleased with the active engagement by the whole community in the process—not only in the individual subcommittees, but also in a Faculty Assembly retreat on the priorities in the leading liberal arts university grand challenge, comments and suggestions from alumni, and, especially, the participation of students. Both a graduate and an
undergraduate course in the Mason School of Business used analysis of the strategic plan as part of their work last fall; the next event for the liberal arts university (on March 23rd) will be led by student panelists, and the Student Assembly is planning a discussion of the evolving strategic plan next month.
As you know, the strategic planning process seeks to be broadly inclusive, with its various committees comprising faculty, students, staff, administrators, members of the Board of Visitors and the W&M Foundation Board, and other alumni. And we continue to welcome your participation in the College’s strategic planning process. There are many ways to contribute to the ongoing discussion. For those of you on campus it may be easiest to:

Contact any Planning Steering Committee (PSC) member.
Provide ideas to any Dean or Vice President.
Contact the chair or a member of one of the PSC subcommittees dealing with each challenge.

All of you can also:

Provide an open comment on the PSC website.
Channel ideas through one of our formal organizations, including the Faculty Assembly, HACE, the Professional and Professional Faculty Assembly, the Student Assembly, the Graduate Student Council, the W&M Foundation and the Alumni Association – all of which are represented on the PSC.
E-mail [[jrgold,Jim Golden]] and he will forward your ideas to the appropriate subcommittee.

The PSC has identified liaisons to each of our constituencies – faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, leadership boards and other supporters. The liaisons look for opportunities to gather feedback and routinely report to the full PSC. We will continue those formal efforts to reach out, but we hope you will use any of the ways outlined above to let us know your ideas. We will be sending out a further update later this year.
Michael R. Halleran and Jim Golden
PSC Co-chairs

Liberal Arts Reflections

TO:  Provost Michael Halleran FROM:  Herrington J. Bryce, Mason School of Business Allow me to share some questions subsequent to our community conversations on October 29 on Liberal Arts and William and Mary. Could we use one of these conversations to address what is it about being labeled a “liberal arts college” that (a) accurately

Diverging and complementary views.

It was great to see so many at yesterday’s event (I didn’t expect an SRO crowd). And the mix of participants was exciting—faculty, emeritus faculty, students (grads and undergrads), alumni, staff, administrators. The panelists effectively put forth both diverging and complementary views (thank you, again, panelists!), and the many contributions of the audience made for

Join the conversation.

A few weeks ago I sent out a message to the campus community about this year’s conversation, stemming from the strategic plan, on W&M being a liberal arts university in the 21st century. The first event is now slated for this coming Thursday (October 29th), 3:30-5:00 in Tidewater A of the Sadler Center. To provoke

Drinking Nectar from a Fire Hose

I’m new to blogging. But I’m
also new to W&M, so perhaps joining these two novelties is
appropriate. I joined the College as its fifth provost on July 1st,
eager to be part of this extraordinary institution, one that blends the core
values of a liberal arts education with the strengths of selected graduate and
professional programs, prizes academic excellence and opportunity and is poised
to take advantage of this moment ripe with opportunities.
What I’ve learned in my first two
months on the job has only deepened my appreciation of how remarkable W&M
is. Since July, I have been busy meeting with faculty, staff,
students, alumni, deans, vice presidents, members of the Board of Visitors, and
many other groups and individuals, while reading numerous reports, policies and
the like. In short, I’ve been learning as much as I can about this
wonderful College-its history, great strengths and challenges. There’s an
old phrase comparing such intense information absorption to drinking from a
fire hose. I understand that phrase better now but I must add, with
reference to my classics background, that there’s much nectar in what I’ve been
drinking. I also have been grateful for the inviting welcome my
family and I have received from so many in the community. This warm
welcome, along with the many dedicated faculty, students and staff I’ve met,
tells me a lot about the College that isn’t found in reports, memos, budgets or
The year is off to a great
start. 1 ,400 frosh, nearly 200 transfer students, several hundred new
graduate and professional students, and 50+ faculty throughout our five schools
have arrived this fall, bringing their talents, creativity and energy to the
W&M community. At Opening Convocation, for which the rain-but not the
humidity-stopped just before its start, alum Jim Comey (’82) gave an inspiring
talk on being a member of the Tribe and the importance of service. And
our football team opened its season with a sweet victory over UVA, which I
interpret as a harbinger of good things throughout the year.
Last year, the W&M
 community developed and the Board of Visitors approved a framework for
our strategic planning. It comprises six “grand challenges” with the
first one on the “liberal arts university” being the most fundamental. The
strategic plan teems with ideas and ambitions, and this year the Planning
Steering Committee and the Sub-committees will be working on implementation
plans and priorities for the inevitable trade-off among competing good
ideas. This is indeed an exciting time to be part of W&M. As one feature of this year’s activities, I am leading a campus-wide
conversation on what it means to be a liberal arts university. I will be
communicating with the campus community more fully about this conversation
shortly; for now, I want only to alert you to its importance and invite your
As I write this, the Commonwealth
continues to deal with budget woes and the Governor has just announced further
reductions for higher education, and many other agencies. While the
economy has become less turbulent in recent months, we are clearly not out of
the woods yet. We will deal with the budget cuts, and I can assure you
that we will proceed with our ambitions, our commitments to academic
excellence, diversity and community and our efforts to having the finest
liberal arts university in the country. One great advantage of a
strategic plan is that it focuses attention on your core values.
Many of my former colleagues, when
they heard that I had accepted this position at W&M, said to me, “That’s
the perfect fit for you.” After two months, I couldn’t agree more.