325 of us
have participated in
a total of 53 task
which have yielded
consideration by the
faculty as they
develop a new
strategic plan for the
John H. Broadbent, Jr., Chair
Commission on the Future
Gretchen Keith, director of the Commission on the Future, said,
"It was a positive, energizing, invigorating process, not just for
alumni, but the entire college community. It was a unifying project.
Everyone came together for one common goal."
Commission Chair John H. Broadbent, Jr. agreed. At the October
meeting he told guests, "On January 15, just eight and one-half
months ago, we assembled in this room to hear our charge and to
commence our work. Since then, over 325 of us have participated
in a total of 53 task force meetings (not to mention sub-task force
meetings and countless hours of phone and mail discussions), which
have yielded 372 observations, suggestions, and recommendations
for consideration by the administration and faculty as they develop
a new strategic plan for the College."
He expressed his thanks to the Commission members for "sharing
in the conclusion of what has been a most useful and productive
effort to involve key people in Albright's community envisioning
the future of Albright as a liberal arts college." He added, "I
wish to commend each of the Commission members for your dedication,
hard work, and determination to succeed in this effort. Truly, without
the contributions of each and every one of you, this report would
not be possible."
The Commission report will serve as the basis for Albright's strategic
planning initiative. President Zimon said, "I cannot stress enough
the importance of this document to the future of this College, for
this report serves as one key input into the development of a strategic
plan for Albright. Far from being a nice document which sits on
a shelf, the Commission Report will serve to guide the strategic
planning committee which just recently began its work." He added
that if the committee meets its schedule, work will be completed
in January and result in a Board of Trustees resolution in February
to approve an Albright College Strategic Plan for the period through
This strategic plan will then be re-evaluated annually each fall
in an ongoing process.
Although the report is a key input, Keith emphasized that, "The
report is only one piece of the puzzle. Faculty input is a separate
piece. Alumni reaction is a separate piece. Administra-tion response
is a separate piece. All the pieces will go into creating the strategic
plan. This is not the end all, be all of the process."
Broadbent noted that when the task forces met for the first time
last January, keynote speaker Robert Zemsky, director of the University
of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research on Higher Education, stated
that private liberal arts colleges must be "market smart and mission
driven" to be successful in the 21st century.
With that said, each task force frequently referred to Albright's
mission and its distinctive attributes as a small, private, church-related
liberal arts college. All task forces agreed that it is important
to base the next strategic plan on a clear re-statement of Albright's
mission and a clear definition of the hallmarks of an Albright education.
Trying to envision the next 25 years was a daunting task for Commission
members, leaving many key questions to be resolved. But, said Broadbent,
several issues were clear. Albright's next strategic plan must recognize
and address several important realities.
- Although Albright has recruited a record number of undergraduate
students the last couple of years, the new strategic plan must
recognize that the positive demographic trend in the number of
high school graduates during the last few years will end later
this decade, thereby increasing the already fierce competition
for these students.
- To date, the College has not yet reached its practical capacity
for educating students. However, some constraints on its physical
assets are becoming more apparent, creating practical limits to
growth in the number of traditional students.
- While attracting more academically talented students is a worthy
objective of most colleges and universities, Albright's next strategic
plan must recognize that recruiting larger numbers of such students
will require that the College improve its academic reputation
and probably require relatively more financial incentives than
are necessary to attract those students with lower academic credentials.
- Since Albright's endowment is relatively small when compared
to its present peers, the College must rapidly develop non-traditional
sources of revenue to support its strategic initiatives and wisely
allocate its available resources for maximum impact.
According to Keith, several common themes occurred within each
of the task forces. Technology, she said, was a major theme throughout
the report. Academic programs and the need to be "really smart about
what programs should be continued and what ones should not" was
Lastly, almost every group, Keith noted, mentioned facilities
and the need to look at which are enhancing the quality of student
life and which are not.
Don De Hart '96, a member of the Task Force on Admission, Retention
& Financial Aid, said a central theme for this group was "defining
Albright's strengths, what it is known for, and the need to more
effectively market our brand." The group also focused on the continuous
improvement of student support services, he said.
President Zimon said, "In short, the report is the catalyst for
an exciting and challenging process of preparing Albright for greatness
- a College with a distinct vision of the world and its place in
it as a leading liberal arts college, preparing future generations
for leadership in a rapidly changing global society."
Commending the clarity of vision of the Commission, President
Zimon presented Broadbent with a pair of binoculars "in most grateful
appreciation for your vision, and for your determination to keep
us "on track" and to a tight schedule, without compromise to the
quality of the discussion or the report." Commission members received
certificates of appreciation from the College.
The final report of the Commission on the Future is available
on the Albright web site at http://www.albright.edu/commission
and a limited number of bound copies are available on request by
calling the Advancement Office at 610-921-7501 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.