December 5, 2016

Four committees will help draft Hamilton's next strategic plan. The charges for each committee are set out below. In fulfilling its charge, each committee should consult widely with members of the Hamilton community, including alumni. The committees may form working groups to study specific issues, construct focus groups to gather information, or use other appropriate means of gathering data. Whenever possible, the committees should be guided by and use information from current and past faculty and staff efforts to address long-term curricular, faculty and staff planning, facilities, and other issues. Each committee should identify three to five strategic goals, evaluate the costs associated with pursuing those goals, and suggest concrete measures for assessing progress toward achieving those goals. Following each committee charge is a set of questions. These questions are intended to serve as a starting point for discussions, but each committee is free to investigate the most important ideas and issues identified during the course of its deliberations.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee will oversee the planning process and take responsibility for considering and incorporating as appropriate the recommendations of the planning committees into the final strategic plan. The Steering Committee will meet periodically with each of the planning committees to provide guidance on committee goals and work plans, to monitor progress, to help resolve questions or problems that may arise during the course of the planning process, and to establish timelines for different phases of the planning process. The Steering Committee will also work with the planning committees to manage issues that cut across the work of two or more committees. Finally, the Steering Committee will assist each of the planning committees to narrow the range of ideas that emerge through consultations with the Hamilton community into a manageable number of strategic priorities that will inform the future direction of the College and help guide its next capital campaign.

Imagining Hamilton Committee

The Imagining Hamilton Committee (IHC) will take a 30,000-foot look at the challenges and opportunities facing higher education in general and residential liberal arts colleges in particular. With that context in mind, the Committee will engage the Hamilton community in conversations intended to elicit big ideas, however unconventional, that have the potential for transforming the direction or operations of the College and the education it provides its students. The Committee will look in particular at strategies that might cut across existing domains, e.g., academic programs and student life.

Potential Questions

  • What does, and what should, differentiate Hamilton from its peers?
  • How can we foster continuous improvement of existing programs?
  • Is our business model sustainable and, if not, what should we change?
  • Are there technological, demographic, social, legislative or financial forces on the horizon that will force major changes in what we do and, if so, how should we prepare?
    • How should we prepare for a prospective student body that will likely include more first-generation- to-college students and more students with less ability to pay for a Hamilton education?
    • In light of trends in family income, how should we address issues of affordability and access?
    • What is the appropriate role for online education?
    • How do we balance parent and student expectations for job preparation with traditional liberal arts goals?
  • How do we make Hamilton an even better place to work?
  • What is the optimal size of the student body?

Academic Vision Committee

The Academic Vision Committee will examine future directions for Hamilton's academic programs in light of the changing composition of our faculty and staff and the challenges facing higher education. In that context, the committee should consider our curriculum, workplace issues, and the needs and interests of students to recommend priorities for the near future.

Potential Questions

  • What is and what should be distinctive about Hamilton's curriculum? Are there new areas that should be developed or existing areas that should be revised?
  • Does the faculty have a workable governance structure? How can we foster a stronger culture of collaboration among faculty, administration, and staff?
  • How should our curriculum respond to anticipated changes in student demographics, technology, globalization, and developments within and between disciplines?
  • What kind of flexibility (in departments and programs, in majors, in staffing) might we need to respond to the changing interests and needs of students as well as current and future imbalances in the distribution of students across majors?
  • How should we foster and support interdisciplinary programs, teaching, and scholarship?
  • How can we better connect our curriculum and academic program to other areas of student life, e.g., residential life, off-campus programs, and community and global engagement?
  • What do we need to do to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented teacher-scholars and staff?
  • How should faculty balance and be rewarded for teaching, scholarship, and service? What areas of the workload need improvement?
  • How can we maximize the value of off-campus study programs?

Student Success Committee

The Student Success Committee will identify ways to improve the overall student experience at Hamilton, with a particular focus on co-curricular activities. As Hamilton welcomes and embraces an increasingly diverse student population and strives to prepare students for lives of meaning, purpose, and active citizenship, the committee will examine the educational challenges and opportunities that exist beyond Hamilton's formal classrooms.

Potential Questions

  • How do we take full advantage of our residential community to maximize learning, success and satisfaction of all students?
  • As an institution that has made a commitment to access and increasing the diversity of its student body, what additional actions could be taken to promote a stronger sense of community and belonging for all students?
  • How can Hamilton better foster a vibrant social environment and reduce the negative impact of substance abuse?
  • How can we equip students with the tools and skills needed to be successful at Hamilton and after they graduate?
  • How can we foster even greater collaboration among students, the administration, and faculty?

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