Dear Pitzer Community,

I am writing to you to announce the kick-off of our strategic planning process this academic year. This is an exciting and critically important opportunity for our community to set the direction of the future of Pitzer College.

Last year, the campus engaged in several strategic planning discussions and we will be using the information gathered at those meetings to springboard into the planning process this year. We have interviewed a number of strategic planning consulting firms and I am pleased to share that Keeling & Associates (K&A) will be assisting us with our strategic plan. K&A has extensive experience in higher education consulting and planning, having worked with many colleges and universities, including mission-driven liberal arts colleges like Pitzer. K&A understands and appreciates Pitzer’s core values, including the importance of an inclusive process where all voices have the opportunity to contribute. I am confident that K&A will be a great partner and I want to thank the committee (Professors Sharon Snowiss and Emma Stephens, Office of Admission and Financial Aid Operations Manager Kristina Kelpe, Trustees Don Gould and Tom Brock, Dean of Faculty Nigel Boyle and Chief of Staff/Chief Legal Counsel Jamie Jorgensen) who helped me in the selection process.

This one-page project brief outlines the steps in the process and the timeline. K&A will make its first of two fall semester campus visits next week, October 3-5. The agenda for the College Council meeting on October 4 is dedicated to discussing the process with K&A and to gathering feedback. Please attend if you can. K&A also plans to meet with the Faculty Executive Committee, the Diversity Committee, my cabinet and as many other stakeholders as we can accommodate. We will also post a strategic planning webpage with updates about what’s been done, what’s to come and how you can get involved.

I have been working with the governance groups to staff a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) that will coordinate our efforts. The SPC membership will be finalized in the coming days with representation from faculty, students, staff and trustees. In addition, we will scaffold “working groups” focused on academic planning, economic sustainability, campus life and climate, and facilities (and possibly other subjects) onto existing governance committees to the greatest extent possible.

We hope to finish the strategic plan and develop an implementation plan by the end of this academic year so that we can begin executing our strategic initiatives in the fall of 2019. This is an ambitious schedule and I am asking for your cooperation as we move forward.

Strategic planning is more than developing “wish lists” of our favorite projects; it requires us to make choices and set priorities. We will need to listen to each other and strive to understand points of view that may be different from our own. It offers both responsibility and opportunity for us to create a shared vision for the future of Pitzer College. The success of our strategic planning depends on our whole community being engaged and I urge all of you to join in the process.

Provida Futuri,

Melvin L. Oliver