Friday Letter, 1-22-16

I like closure. I like closure especially after you’ve put forth your best effort.  No matter how a situation turns out, if you’ve put forth your best effort you can move forward with your integrity intact.

As it turns out, we had several issues resolve this week. The Trustees had their monthly meeting on Wednesday and it was probably one of the most significant meetings we’ve had in a long time as it relates to the future of the college.

Issue #1: The Strategic Plan

The former Academic Plan with three Core Themes has now evolved to the Strategic Plan with five Core Themes. Core Themes 1-3 are still considered the Academic Plan portion of the plan, but all of our goals are now contained within one document.  Not only will this make the Accreditors happy, it will make our efforts to prioritize our actions and our dollars much simpler.  As we begin the budget and goal setting process for next year, everyone will be directed to focus on the Core Themes in the Strategic Plan.  While the Strategic Plan is an active document, we have closure on this portion of the planning.

Issue #2: The President’s Contract

This issue is probably most important to me, but the Board has settled on a new evaluation rubric for the President’s position. We worked collaboratively on this for months and are happy with the outcome.  This also means my evaluation period runs January to January unlike everyone else.  To do this, the end of my contract was extended by 7 months.  In case you didn’t know, I have a rolling 3-year contract.  While I hope to be here for a long time, I have closure on what is expected of me from the Board.

Issue #3: The Foundation

After two years of research, planning, and Advisory Councils, the Trustees have decided to not divert funds from our reserves to start up the Foundation in a fully active manner.  This is the most significant issue of the three and deserves a brief explanation.

The Foundation currently works in “slim mode”. Our part-time administrator (Mark Collins) oversees our existing assets, accepts gifts on behalf of generous donors (including employees!), maintains the finances, supports the small 3-person governing board, and oversees the scholarship distribution process.  None of those activities will change in the “slim mode”.  What we will not do, however, is hire more staff to engage in a full blown philanthropic endeavor.  No breakfasts, no campaigns, no scouring donor databases.  The amount of money to do this successfully is far more than we wish to invest for the outcomes and risks associated with it.  Instead, the Board would rather keep funding our repair and replacement schedule as well as the goals we set in the Strategic Plan.

Now that we have closure on this decision, my office will take on a few more of the donor relations activities and we will assign the scholarship process to another office. I’ve appreciated Mark Collin’s support over the last two years and, while effective at this work, Mark’s talents lie in helping the institution find, write, and obtain grants.  It is my goal to focus him as much as I can on this activity.

We have closure on these issues and it’s nice to have answers. We’ve put forth effort to position the college in a positive direction and we are absolutely effective at this work.  We also know how to evolve to meet our ever-changing needs.  This week’s DIA was a clear example of our ability to listen, modify, respond healthfully, and set a direction.  Thank you to those who have participated in all of the decision-making as well as in the DIA.

Have a great weekend.

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