Skip to main content

A Bold Path Forward (March 21, 2019)

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Thank you to those who have provided feedback on the strategic plan, including by joining us at one of our daily office hours, submitting feedback electronically and participating in individual or group meetings with members of the Executive Committee. Your input has been valuable as we continue to revise the plan. Executive Committee office hours will continue through next week and the opportunity to provide feedback online will be available through March 29 as well. Members of the Executive Committee continue to be available to meet with offices and departments, too, as we continue to gather feedback from the campus community before circulating the final draft in early April.

As a reminder, we will hold an open forum for faculty and staff this afternoon in Trout Auditorium beginning at 4 p.m. I do not plan to make a formal presentation; instead, my hope is that we can have a conversational question-and-answer session as we work toward developing that final draft.

We have posted an updated draft of the plan to the strategic planning website; you can access it here, provided that you are logged into myBucknell. This latest iteration includes a conclusion, which I hope conveys my excitement as we look forward to the next phase of our work together. The draft also includes proposed dates for achieving each of the current initiatives.

As the Steering Committee discussed the initiative dates, we listed all 15 initiatives on a single page, as I’ve done here. I found this simple visual exercise rather striking and, candidly, invigorating, as it brought into even sharper focus all that we, together, can achieve through this plan.

  • By fall 2020, Bucknell will implement strengthened academic advising programs, as measured in part by increased student retention and completion rates and decreased adjustments to students’ academic progress reports during their senior year, and as demonstrated through highly effective and mutually fulfilling advising relationships.
  • By spring 2021, Bucknell will determine the desirability, feasibility and, if appropriate, scope and goals of a University-wide core curriculum.
  • By fall 2022, Bucknell will offer additional, formal academic programs that allow students to pursue in-depth disciplinary study beyond their major.
  • By fall 2022, Bucknell will expand its interdisciplinary academic programs between and among departments and colleges, including programs that meet the standard for inclusion on a student’s academic record.
  • By fall 2021, Bucknell will create and initiate a plan that aligns the availability and usage of its residential and social spaces in furtherance of the University’s strategic priorities.
  • By spring 2020, Bucknell will prepare and begin implementing the next iteration of its Diversity Plan, informed by an evaluation of the 2014-19 Diversity Plan.
  • By fall 2020, Bucknell will implement a program of ongoing, progressive education for faculty and staff that focuses on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • By spring 2021, Bucknell will implement a reimagined first-year experience that begins once a student accepts the University’s offer of admission.
  • By spring 2020, Bucknell will identify opportunities to strengthen and perhaps grow the residential colleges, affinity housing, faculty-in-residence and other residential programs.
  • By spring 2020, Bucknell will initiate programming and policy changes to bring Greek-letter organizations into greater alignment with the University’s strategic commitments, particularly with regard to the overall residential experience.
  • By fall 2019, Bucknell will finalize and begin implementing its Civic Action Plan.
  • By fall 2019, Bucknell will adopt a financial plan that supports its strategic priorities.
  • By fall 2025, Bucknell will increase its discount rate by approximately four percentage points to 35%, reflecting an increase in need-based aid.
  • By spring 2020, Bucknell will complete the drafting of and begin implementing its Environmental Sustainability Plan.
  • By fall 2022, Bucknell will publicly launch the next campaign, which will focus primarily on increasing need-based financial aid resources and supporting select other strategic priorities that most directly lend themselves to garnering philanthropic support.

Some of you have expressed concern that the draft plan doesn’t go far enough. While I appreciate the desire to do more, this plan is bold. There can be no doubt that The Plan for Bucknell, which was unanimously adopted by the faculty in 2006, provided the University with a solid foundation for strengthening the institution in myriad ways. That said, I truly believe any reasonable comparison of it and our current plan reveals that we are, today, taking an even bolder, more confident and forward-looking approach to advancing the institution. For instance, environmental sustainability is not mentioned in the 2006 plan. Today, it is a pillar of one of our overarching strategic commitments. There is not a single reference to Greek life in the 2006 plan. The draft plan commits us to implementing program and policy changes specifically geared toward bringing Greek life into better alignment with our mission. Notions of access and equity, peripheral in the 2006 plan, are front and center today.

Through its commitments, priorities and the initiatives listed above — the plan not only enables us to bring about significant positive and lasting change, it demands it of us, and it does so with a specificity that will hold us accountable for achieving our stated ambitions. Simply put, this plan is a rebuke of the status quo, and I am excited and energized by the prospect of working together to carry it out and forge a thriving, inclusive and sustainable future for Bucknell.

I hope to see many of you this afternoon at our open forum.

My best,


Comments are closed.