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Imagine, Macalester: May Update

Dear Macalester Community: 

We write to update you on our Imagine, Macalester strategic planning work. You can find earlier updates, along with other details related to the strategic planning process on the Strategic Planning News and Updates page

As we look back on the past nine months, one of the things that makes us most proud of the Imagine, Macalester planning process is the degree to which it has engaged the whole community, providing everyone with the opportunity to participate. This was possible because of the tireless leadership of our Strategic Planning Champions. So, once again, we’d like to extend our gratitude to them. Champions, thank you for all of the work you did to engage your fellow alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and members of our local Saint Paul community.

Last week, the entire Senior Leadership Team shared an update with the Board of Trustees. The Board asked a lot of good questions and made suggestions about ideas they feel we should emphasize further. Understanding that we will continue to refine our thinking following their feedback, they have given their endorsement to move forward with developing a detailed plan, which the Senior Leadership Team–with support from key stakeholders (including Champions who have expressed interest in continuing their involvement)–will do over the next few months. 

The plan will be guided by this “headline”: 

Imagine, Macalester: A Signature Liberal Arts Curriculum that emphasizes a Residential Campus Experience in a Vibrant City within the Wider World

and these four overlapping and interdependent imperatives: 

  • Academic Distinction. Foster teaching/learning/research that is challenging, energizing, inspiring, joyful, and engages students in problem-solving
  • Financial Sustainability. Create experiences that are irresistible to future students, and inspire the support of alumni and friends of the college
  • Social Responsibility. Identify and dismantle structural barriers to access, diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice
  • Community Wellbeing. Promote holistic health, personal development, shared experiences, and human connection

Please watch this Macalester Strategic Planning Draft Priorities video narrated by Dean Tom Halverson for more context.

You’ll notice that the current language differs from what was shared in our March update. That’s because adjustments were based on feedback we received from the seven April strategic plan discussion sessions, as well as thoughts shared by constituents with the Champions, with the Senior Leadership Team, and via the strategicplan@macalester.edu mailbox. 

Our goal is to have a draft plan ready to share with all of you in late August/early September for one additional round of community feedback. Then, we will finalize the plan and present it to the Board in early October before beginning implementation. 

In the meantime, our strategicplan@macalester.edu mailbox will remain open all summer. Emails received there are shared with members of the Senior Leadership Team.

We deeply appreciate your involvement, and are excited about the opportunities ahead for Macalester. We hope you are, too! 

With gratitude,

Dr. Suzanne M. Rivera, President
Dr. Lisa Anderson-Levy, Executive Vice President and Provost

May 20, 2022