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Imagining Macalester’s Future

A message from President Suzanne Rivera

As my second year at Macalester begins, I am focused on our shared future.

In conversations, webinars, comments in meetings, and your direct correspondence to me, you have conveyed a common message: you see amazing potential at Mac, and you are eager to work together to realize it.

I write today to share information about the process we have chosen to chart the future of our college. It offers everyone the chance to participate, and encourages all of us to bring our energy, creativity, wisdom, and insights to the endeavor. It will take about a year and will involve every constituency of the college, including those who live and work on campus as well as alumni, parents, and residents of St. Paul neighborhoods.

The formal launch of the planning process will happen over Inauguration weekend (October 7-10), beginning with a Big Questions event focused on the future of the liberal arts. During the year ahead, there will be a variety of ways to participate, including: surveys, focus groups, Town Hall meetings, a web portal with information resources, and a digital “suggestion box.”  Every voice matters!

In addition, we will invite members of the Mac family to help lead this effort by serving as liaisons and “guides.” This diverse group, selected from across all of the college’s constituencies, will represent a wide range of perspectives. They will work closely with Provost Anderson-Levy and me to review and consider recommendations and feedback. Participants will agree to make a significant time commitment and bring a deep passion for Macalester and the future of our college to their work. More information about how to apply for these roles will be coming soon.

In the meantime, we want everyone to begin imagining Mac’s future. Accordingly, we hope you will use the following questions to jumpstart your ideas: Who do we want to be? What will students of the future need to be successful? What changes are required to promote equity and community flourishing? How can we address the key opportunities and challenges we will face over the next decade or more? What do we do best and want to do more of? What could (does) make us distinctive? What should we let go of or transform or stop doing?  

These and other questions will frame our journey of exploration and, together, we will create a map of the future. Understanding that change may involve trade-offs, please allow yourself to envision Macalester’s path forward with a spirit of innovation.

I cannot wait to begin working with you to write this exciting new chapter of Macalester College’s story!

September 13, 2021