President's Column | Albright College

President’s Column

Seeing the future while waist deep in the present

Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the ways in which we teach, learn, work and engage with one another on a daily basis. Throughout this issue, you’ll see and hear the many ways in which Albright College has worked to develop a path forward through this uncharted time that prioritizes the health of the Albright community, maintains flexibility and delivers an exceptional, engaging and valuable education to our students, no matter whether we are in-person, online or a little bit of both. Responding to the pandemic and the daily challenges, government and health department guidance and new requirements has not been easy. It has required all of us to be flexible and resilient as we have had to make hard decisions that have required us to pivot and conduct business in new and creative ways.

So first, please join me in thanking our many resilient Albright staff, faculty and students — the Pandemic Task Force, emergency essential employees, members of Cabinet and the College Leadership Team, and so many others — who have worked daily to help the college move into and through the fall semester, and now planning for the spring semester. These decisions have been made considering the options that best optimized the health, wellness and teaching and learning success of our academic community. You will learn more about how we prioritized decisionmaking in this issue.

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 challenges and the intricate details that must be worked out on a day-to-day basis. Certainly, we will continue to work through these challenges as we navigate this pandemic. At the same time, we must be intentional about looking beyond the present and into the future — and we are!

In February 2020, shortly before the college made its pandemic pivot, the faculty and the board of trustees endorsed a strategic vision for Albright College that 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.

Please join me in thanking our many resilient Albright staff, faculty and students.

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. (These themes and priorities can be found on the Albright website at albright.edu/2030strategicvision.)

Additionally, in June, trustees endorsed the college’s 2020-2021 goals, with measurable metrics. These goals, which align with our long-term strategic vision, include our active commitment to Albright’s Inclusivity and Equity Statement, retention and student success, care of our employees, expansion of alternative revenue streams, and the continuation of the library plan. And each year as we move forward we will commit to a series of annual goals in support of our long-term vision.

So, how do we get there?

Each member of our pride of Lions — trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, students, donors and friends — plays a critical role in helping us to achieve our ambitious goal. Each time you talk with your families, friends and spheres of influence about Albright College, our successes and our shared vision you are leading a “ripples in the pond” impact. Together, those ripples will become waves, and those waves will bring us closer to achieving our goal.

It is true that seeing into the future while waist deep in the present can be extremely challenging, and this year sure has brought with it many challenges for all us. 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 your engagement with Albright College and for your partnership in a bright future.

Best regards,

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