Retreat Feedback and Forward Thinking

I have been receiving much feedback on Wesleyan 2020, and I am grateful for it. Earlier this month the Wesleyan Board of Trustees met, and along with faculty, staff and student representatives, spent two days thinking about a strategy map for Wesleyan. It was an intense and engaging process, as we discussed values and attributes we thought essential to the university’s character, and then considered themes for future planning in light of these attributes.

We used a “Balanced Scorecard” method, which means that whatever we came up with had to fit on one page! This turned out to be a useful crystallization process, and we took some of our stories and themes and tried to boil them down into a few words. Although we are still refining the strategy map we came up with, Board Chair Joshua Boger and I thought we could share it now:

[draft Wesleyan strategy map; November, 2009]
View a larger version (Updated, November 20, 2009.)

One of the first things we did at the retreat was to talk in small groups about the university’s “core purpose.” Our excellent facilitator, Bink Garrison, gave us some examples of how statements of purpose should reach beyond the specific operations of an organization, but still be tangibly connected to it. You’ll see that the statement that most participants liked best is: “To provide a transformative liberal arts education that inspires a lifelong commitment to learning, leadership, and service.” I look forward to discussing with alumni groups, and with the campus constituencies, what we mean by “transformative,” and how we can create this “lifelong commitment.”

In subsequent meetings, the Board will be developing measures for many of the strategies called out on the map. This will be a real challenge, but by doing so we will be better equipped to align our resources in support of what is most important for Wesleyan’s future.