A steering committee, tasked with identifying specific institutional-level goals and objectives for improving New Paltz’s campus community, was formed earlier this semester by SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian.
The committee, which is devising the plan, will develop a draft of six to eight tasks the college can complete within the next three to five years that will be sent to the President’s Cabinet for review, Christian said.
“There are a thousand ways we could get better as a campus,” Christian said. “I think about what we can do over the next five years to be better than we are now and ask, ‘how do we prioritize this?’ This is a process of identifying seven or eight things we can do to move New Paltz to a different level.”
Christian said Dr. William Weary, a consultant hired to help guide the strategic planning process, conducted over 100 interviews with various members of the New Paltz community about their suggestions for improving the college.
Weary’s findings, in addition to the steering committee’s, will be contextualized and drafted for the President by the end of the fall semester, Christian said.
The committee’s Co-Chairs Patricia Sullivan and Stella Turk said the president invited them to serve as chairs of the committee.
Sullivan said she has talked with a “cross-section” of the campus community and has exchanged many ideas with faculty, students and staff at New Paltz.
The committee recently held a retreat in the College Terrace to collect ideas and suggestions that were brought to the committee’s attention by students, faculty and staff.
The retreat, which was held on Nov. 3, brought many ideas forward, Sullivan said.
“I left the retreat with a strong sense that there’s a commitment to building on our strengths as an institution, looking to the future and adapting to changes in higher education,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said it was too early for the steering committee to comment on specific suggestions that were brought to their attention, but a draft strategic plan will be presented to the campus community for feedback and comment.
Open forums will also be scheduled for the campus to respond to the drafted plan, Sullivan said.
Christian said once his cabinet receives the first draft of the strategic plan, they will send their comments back to the steering committee, who will then rework a draft to present to the college in the spring semester.
All in all, both Christian and Sullivan said the strategic plan will be completed by the end of the academic year.
“We are going to do this in one year and chart our course for the next years,” Christian said. “It won’t be the only things we do, but they will be several institutional wide plans we can do. It’s exciting.”