Strategic Plan Overview and Process


In fall 2015, the Strategic Planning Committee, which included faculty, staff, students, and trustees, began work on the Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021. After working through the academic year, the committee presented a draft plan to the Board of Trustees at its May 2016 meeting.

The trustees offered widespread support for further focusing the College’s curriculum and community on global women’s leadership, with three overarching priorities:

  1. assert the College’s distinctiveness and the value of a liberal arts education
  2. sustain a commitment to a robust liberal arts core as well as embracing new infrastructure that extends the College’s value, reputation, and reach
  3. develop a comprehensive approach to shaping and sustaining a twenty-first-century global community.

The Strategic Planning Committee continued its work over the summer. It sought to:

  • lay out a detailed five-year implementation plan
  • clarify alignment of divisional and departmental goals including those of the Alumnae Association
  • develop a fundraising plan that supports the College’s strategic priorities
  • build a dashboard to document progress
  • establish a sustainable, five-year financial plan.

The Process

The Strategic Planning Committee was formed in fall 2015.

Working through the academic year, the members of the committee researched the College’s previous strategic plans, studies, and other reports relating to the College and its activities. The committee also considered the best ways to approach strategic planning, and examined the strategic plans of a number of liberal arts colleges of Mount Holyoke’s size, type, and standing.

In addition, the committee reached out to the community by inviting feedback through faculty and board retreats, in faculty and staff surveys, and in small- and large-group discussions with faculty, staff, students, and alumnae.

A number of core priorities emerged and four working groups were formed:

  1. liberal arts and academic innovation
  2. student experience
  3. collaborative governance
    1. administration, faculty, staff, and students
    2. Alumnae Association and the College
  4. workload and compensation
    1. faculty
    2. staff

Each working group was charged with reviewing current practices and developing recommendations for bold yet realistic change. In addition, each working group approached its work in relation to the broader institutional goals of diversity and inclusion, the financial sustainability of the College, institutional effectiveness and assessment, and the academic calendar.

Based on the findings of the working groups, the Strategic Planning Committee drafted recommendations, which were submitted to the community for further feedback.