Long-term, strategic planning and goal setting during a pandemic crisis – Albright College

Long-term, strategic planning and goal setting during a pandemic crisis

Dear Albright faculty and staff,

Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the ways in which we teach, learn, work and engage with one another on a daily basis. In collaboration with the Pandemic Task Force we have worked hard to develop a path forward that prioritizes the health of our community, maintains flexibility, and delivers an exceptional, engaging and valuable education to our students whether the pandemic provides the opportunity for face-to-face education or not. At the same time, the Pandemic Task Force and many others on campus have been responding to challenges, guidance and new requirements that seem to come at us daily.

I want to thank the many resilient Albright staff, faculty, students — the Pandemic Task Force, emergency essential employees, members of Cabinet and the College Leadership Team, and so many others – who are working on a daily basis to help the college to be ready for fall, with the best and safest options available to us, despite the numerous challenges the pandemic and our various governments and organizations have thrown at us. My deepest appreciation to each of you — this is what makes our Albright community so strong!

At the same time, history reminds us that having a long-term plan – a vision of a bright future – is even more vital during a crisis. It is easy to get bogged down in the daily challenges and the intricate details that must be worked out during this time. Certainly, we will continue to work through these challenges as we navigate this pandemic together. At the same time, we must be intentional about looking beyond the present and into the future.

In June, Board Chair Ron Scheese ’83 wrote to you with an update on the recent board of trustees meeting, in which he reminded us of the board’s endorsement of a strategic vision for Albright College. Through this strategic vision, Albright is committed to building a sustainable financial model that focuses on students and their needs, and the thriving well-being of our entire community. Looking ahead, our strategic vision lays out an ambitious goal for 2030:

In 2030, we envision that Albright will have a national reputation for closing the gap on education for all students of academic promise — for students who earn an affordable and high quality degree with a strong liberal arts foundation, who are prepared to enter the workforce, who experience significant socioeconomic mobility, and who are prepared to hold fulfilling jobs, across all student demographics (gender, racial, ethnic, first-generation).

To achieve this ambitious goal, seven strategic themes, developed with our institutional priorities at the forefront, have been established to serve as a framework and to guide the work that we do.

So how do we get there? We get there one step at a time.

During the June board meeting, trustees also endorsed the college’s 2020-2021 goals, with measurable metrics, which focus on the following areas:

  • Retention and student success
  • Care of our employees
  • Strategic Vision implementation
  • Opportunities to increase tuition, fee, room and board revenue and expand alternative revenue streams to reduce the operating deficit
  • Develop the model and tool that allows five-year revenue, expense and cash flow modeling
  • Improve finance office business processes, financial reporting timeliness and content
  • Continue with the library plan

Each one of us, individually and collectively, plays a role in meeting goals in these key areas. What role do you play? What goals will you set in your department and for yourself to help Albright College move toward its ambitious 2030 goal?

For the first time, Albright employees will be working to align the college’s institutional priorities and annual college-level goals with the professional development and annual goals that each of us set during our annual reviews. This will be a work in process, one slow step at a time, as each of us develop the skills and planning to set goals, and to consider the bigger picture and how that ties to our own work goals. For now, begin considering how you will integrate the college-level goals and our institutional priorities into your annual review.  Leadership from Human Resources will help us develop these processes and skills over the next years.

As we move forward together, know that the Cabinet has committed to setting annual college goals, that the Board has committed to reviewing those goals, and that I am committed to sharing both the goals and the outcomes with you each year.

Seeing into the future while knee deep in the present can be especially challenging. While we can’t predict the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic, we know that we have a clear vision for the future and a path on which to travel. Indeed, we’ve already begun to make measurable progress down that path. Thank you for all you do for the Albright College of today and for the Albright College that we aspire to be!

It’s a great day to be a Lion!

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Albright College