Wesleyan's trustees formally adopted a new strategic plan for the university
at their meeting on May 20. "Engaged with the World:
A Strategic Plan for
Wesleyan University, 2005-2010" (www.wesleyan.edu/wesleyanplanning/)
sets ambitious goals for academic and student life programming and for
campus renewal, according to President Doug Bennet.
new plan is the product of almost two years' dialogue among faculty,
students, staff, alumni and trustees. It notes institutional advances that
resulted from the implementation of its 1998 precursor, "Strategy for
Wesleyan," and the success of the $281 million Wesleyan Campaign, including
the addition of 20 faculty across the disciplines, as well as advances in
curriculum and pedagogy, student aid, and campus facilities.
"Engaged with the World" describes the ongoing work of the
faculty to implement the curricular innovations envisioned in "Wesleyan
Education for the 21st Century," as well as to prepare students
to engage in an increasingly global society. It emphasizes the need to
encourage more students to participate in the sciences as an integral part
of their preparation for citizenship.
The new plan identifies programmatic priorities to be
implemented according to the university's future fund-raising success. These
of eight new faculty positions to meet student demand for courses and
majors, particularly in the social sciences, including psychology;
in grant aid for the most disadvantaged students;
of a dean of student academic resources to the Dean of the College Office;
Center for Faculty Career Development and the Service Learning Center;
increasing aid grants to reduce loans as a percentage of each student's cost
additional financial support for distinguished visitors and campus events
planned by faculty and students for the residence halls and the new Suzanne
Lemberg Usdan University Center.
The new plan establishes priorities for renovation and
construction of campus buildings. These projects constitute the third phase
of the facilities plan developed as part of the Strategy for Wesleyan and
confirmed during the Facilities Masterplan study in 2002/03. They include a
new molecular and life sciences building; renovations to Davenport Hall,
Olin Library and the Davison Art Center; the second phase of the Center for
Film Studies, and the rehabilitation of the old squash building as a museum
to house Wesleyan's collections of art and material culture. These projects
will proceed as targeted fund-raising efforts make them possible.
The plan cites a crucial need to increase Wesleyan's per
capita endowment. One of the university's highest priorities must be to
support a growing proportion of essential and predictable costs (such as
faculty salaries and financial aid) through the endowment, the plan states.
Over the long term, increasing endowment in this manner will increase
Wesleyan's budgetary flexibility and reduce its dependence on tuition. "We
must take every opportunity to increase the endowment through new gifts,
careful stewardship, and successful investments," according to the plan.
In order to implement these initiatives, Wesleyan will need
to raise funds even beyond the levels achieved through the Wesleyan
"Thanks to the success of the campaign and to the
extraordinary work of our faculty, staff and volunteers, I feel very
confident about our ability to implement the priorities outlined in 'Engaged
with the World,'" says Bennet. "This is an ambitious plan, and it merits our
best efforts on behalf of the university."