Posted March 2023; Updated to include Working Group Co-Chairs January 2024
Charge: In March of 2026, Lafayette College will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding by the citizens of Easton, Pennsylvania. Inspired by the return of the famed revolutionary war general to America in 1824, the College was founded to create educated citizens who could lead this still-young nation to a bright future. Much has changed in America and in higher education since those early days, but the College remains a stalwart force that continues to educate young people to serve and lead in organizations and communities of every kind, in the US, and across the world. While the core mission of educating our citizenry has not changed, the commitment, ingenuity, and the immense intellect of our faculty, staff, and students have ensured that our methods for reaching that goal have remained vibrant and innovative.
It has been almost 15 years since the College embarked on a full strategic planning process that engaged the entire community in deep dialogue and thorough contemplation of this vital institution’s mission, values, and priorities. The rapid pace of change in our society, and in the landscape of undergraduate higher education, calls Lafayette to accept the challenge now of renewing close consideration of our future and harnessing the collective power and creativity of our dedicated community of faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, neighbors, friends, and other stakeholders. As I stated when this process began: “Building a strategic plan that will guide College decision making for the years ahead presents all of us with a critical opportunity to chart our future together.”
The strategic planning process’s name, Becoming Lafayette, reflects the theme of my inaugural address. In that address, I noted that I was inspired by Michele Obama’s book, Becoming, and its emphasis on the evolutionary journey we all can take toward a better future. I suggested that leading the College would not be a sprint, or a marathon, but a relay that our community would engage in together. Through this planning process, we aspire to “become Lafayette” anew by honoring the accomplishments of those who carried the baton before us and, in building upon that strong foundation, defining the next stage of Lafayette’s service to our students, our community, and our world. The Steering Committee will play a seminal role in helping to chart that path forward.
The Action Steps noted below outline the essential activities expected from the Committee over the course of their process. While not an exhaustive list, it is also meant to provide a meaningful set of touchstones for the committee’s discussions, explorations, and ultimate recommendations. All activity must be informed by close review of relevant data, including benchmarks from peers and aspirants, and careful consideration of the feedback provided through the stakeholder listening sessions conducted in Phase One of this process and summarized in the forthcoming Phase One Executive Summary as well as the further learning and listening the processes ahead allow. With this in mind, the Committee, and any subsequently appointed thematic working groups, may wish to conduct further dedicated listening sessions or focus groups with stakeholders to test emerging ideas and potential priorities or initiatives.
As the strategic planning processes ahead will continue to be instructive and dynamic, amendments to this Charge may be required and, if so, will be discussed with the Steering Committee prior to formal adoption.
I will also be appointing the following additional strategic planning bodies soon:
Nicole Farmer Hurd