Messages from President Zak

Strategic Planning Update

December 17, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Before we break for the holidays, I want to thank our entire community for your thoughtful input into the strategic planning process and to recap for everyone what has been done and to provide a reminder of where we are going. As you all know, working with Credo, we have been engaged in a process designed to create a new dynamic plan for the college through 2025. Of course, the formulation of the plan is just the beginning of the road ahead, and there will be much to do in the implementation stage. However, I know that, working together, we will create a viable guide that reflects our values, goals, and desire for a sustainable future.

To recap, in August community members provided their ideas at the “Strategy Building” session hosted by Credo during which four draft themes were shared. Afterward, for those who could not attend or had additional thoughts, comments were invited through a shared Google doc, as well as to strategicplanning@agnesscott.edu. The Planning Team then met, reviewed all the comments from the August session as well as the Google doc and emails, and refined the draft themes on the basis of your feedback. Subsequently, four Theme Teams were created. These teams also reviewed, in detail, all the suggestions that were received from the August session, along with other feedback from you and trustees of the college. This month the Theme Teams have been organizing and prioritizing the emerging key concepts and hosted open sessions in which they presented the information, sought feedback, and invited additional input, including ideas that were not reflected in the current themes.

Most recently, a working group on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) has begun to meet and determine the metrics we will use to determine the success of our new plan. Joining me on the working group are Kelly Ball, Corey Dunn, Ken England, Lili Harvey, and Lea Ann Hudson.

Following the holiday break, the next steps in this process will be as follows:

  • Week of January 4 Key concepts of the Theme Team recommendations will be shared with you for comment via a Google doc
  • Week of January 11 Transformative Education Theme Team will host an open session (January 12, 1 p.m.)
  • Planning Team will consider and prioritize the Theme Team recommendations
  • Week of January 18 KPI Working Group will hold working session to link metrics to recommendations
  • Week of January 25 Board of Trustees will review Theme Team recommendations and draft metrics and add their input
  • February Open sessions to gather additional insights from faculty/staff and also from students, alumnae, and donors
  • Tentative schedule for faculty/staff sessions:
    • February 2 1 p.m.
    • February 3 4 p.m.
    • February 4 1 p.m.
    • February 8 4 p.m.
    • February 9 1 p.m.
    • February 11 4 p.m.

Our ultimate goal is the approval of a final plan by the Board of Trustees on March 31.

I want to again thank the members of the Planning Team and Theme Teams—all 55 of you. I am grateful for your commitment to this process and ensuring that we have the best plan for moving the college forward in a sustainable manner.

And, I am extremely grateful to all of the members of our community who have shared their ideas throughout this process. Please continue to check our webpages, which not only give an overview of the process and timeline, but periodic updates. If you have additional questions or comments, please reach out directly to me or any team member.

Best wishes for a restful break,

Strategic Planning: Opportunity to Provide Your Thoughts

October 9, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As you know, Agnes Scott has partnered with Credo Higher Education to engage in a strategic planning process to move the college forward with a common vision and set of goals toward a more sustainable future. We are so happy this process is now fully launched and excited to continue working with all of you to chart Agnes Scott’s path for the next five years.

Our planning process began with a cabinet retreat in February 2020, facilitated by Credo. During the retreat, we learned about the Thriving Framework, which is the foundation and framework for Credo’s strategy work. Throughout the collaborative retreat, we discussed creative ideas and strategic priorities that could have a significant impact on the college. Based on the discussion and ideas generated, we developed draft themes to be shared with the community for input and feedback.

A planning process that garners meaningful participation from all constituencies and members of the Agnes Scott community is critical to the success of any plan. We are committed to such a process. We hosted a virtual event for faculty and staff on August 28 in collaboration with Credo. The purpose of this event was to share the Thriving Framework foundation and seek your input on the draft themes. Your ideas generated through this event are highly valued and will be incorporated as the Planning Team refines the themes and identifies the priority initiatives that will move us forward.

Following the August event, we heard your desire to provide additional feedback on the draft themes. We met last week with the Faculty Finance and Strategic Planning Committee and our partners from Credo and now want to offer another opportunity to hear from you. To share your thoughts and insights on our draft themes or even add a new one, please click on Agnes Scott College | Theme Descriptions for Community Feedback. You will see each theme, the theme description, and space for your response. This collaborative document will remain open through Monday, October 19. If you prefer to provide feedback in a more confidential format, please email strategicplanning@agnesscott.edu.

This planning process is an opportunity for us to join together as a community in charting a shared vision for the future. We are pleased to announce that the following individuals have agreed to serve, alongside members of the president’s cabinet, on the Planning Team throughout this process.

  • Kelly Ball, assistant dean for graduate and extended programs; assistant professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies
  • Erin Bradley, Linda Lentz Hubert Assistant Professor of Public Health
  • Gundolf Graml, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean for curriculum and strategic initiatives; professor of German
  • Markesha Henderson, director of athletics
  • Regine Jackson, Kathy Ashe '68 and Lawrence Ashe Associate Professor of Sociology
  • Aimee Kahn-Foss, director of admission
  • Mary Frances Kerr, senior director of alumnae relations
  • Henry Taylor, senior director of development
  • Karissa Tedesco, associate dean for student development
  • Ruth Uwaifo, associate professor of economics

We are grateful for their commitment to this process and thank them in advance for their service to the college.

And, we value your continued input in this process. There will be additional opportunities to engage in the strategic planning process as we go forward, including through membership on a Theme Team. In the coming weeks, we will share additional information about this opportunity. In the meantime, we hope that you will take a few minutes to provide your input on the draft themes through this Google doc. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Best regards,

Leocadia I. Zak, JD
President

Christine S. Cozzens
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Save the Date for Strategy Building: Phase I

April 9, 2020

Dear Members of the Faculty and Staff,

Early in the spring semester, I announced that we will be launching an inclusive process, assisted by Credo, through which we will create the college’s next strategic plan. It is now more crucial than ever that we build a strong plan for Agnes Scott's future. Credo will provide outside support, as well as software to track implementation and benchmark our success

Members of the President's Cabinet kicked off the planning process with a day-and-a-half meeting before spring break, and the trustees will have a virtual session during their May meetings. The campus kick-off is planned for Friday, August 28. I want to encourage all members of the faculty and staff to participate in Strategy Building: Phase 1 from 2 to 5 p.m. Happy hour will follow. Please mark this important date on your calendar. and plan to participate. Sign-up information will be sent during the summer.

Your voice is important in creating the plan for Agnes Scott's next chapter. I look forward to working with all of you as together we develop and implement a new strategic plan.

Warm regards,

Leocadia I. Zak
President

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