Strategic Planning

A Message from President Ron Cole ‘87

The Board of Trustees, in February 2023, endorsed a pathway for the College that will allow us to chart a vibrant future for Allegheny as we affirm our commitment to the liberal arts and continue evolving to meet the needs of today’s students.

A steering committee and three working groups have been meeting in summer 2023 to review market research, internal data, and constituent surveys. The working groups are organized under the categories of ‘people’ (student experience, enrollment, and employee development), ‘programs’ (curricular and co-curricular), and ‘places’ (campus infrastructure and Meadville area partnerships), with members from faculty, staff, students, cabinet, and trustees. Our process is designed to include broad input from the Allegheny community.

The strategic process is being facilitated by The Hill Group, a consulting firm based in Pittsburgh with extensive experience and success guiding and implementing strategic planning in higher education and industry. The process is also supported by research being completed by Art & Science Group.

We are designing a future for Allegheny College to thrive by having the wisdom to embrace new ideas, the courage to implement change, and the discipline to stay the course as we assess, evaluate, and continually improve our outcomes. Our future will build on our strengths and values as we show relevance for an Allegheny education with strong student outcomes into the 21st century.

With enthusiasm for the future of Allegheny and Go Gators!

Draft Strategic Plan — Community Feedback Opportunities

  1. Feedback survey facilitated by The Hill Group
  2. Open Forums — Employees
    • Wednesday, August 30, 9 – 10 am, Tillotson Dining Room
    • Thursday, August 31, 6 – 7 pm, Virtual
    • Tuesday, September 5, 8 – 9 am, Virtual
    • Friday, September 8, 2 – 3 pm, Tillotson Dining Room
    • Monday, September 11, 3 – 4 pm, Tillotson Dining Room
    • Tuesday, September 12, 2 – 3 pm, Tillotson Dining Room
    • Tuesday, September 12, 6:15 – 7:15 pm, Virtual
  3. Open Forums — Students
    • Friday, September 1, 12:15 – 1:15 pm, CC Lobby
    • Tuesday, September 5, 12:15 – 1:15 pm, CC Lobby
    • Monday, September 11, 7 – 8 pm, CC 301/302
    • Wednesday, September 13, 12:15 – 1:15 pm, CC Lobby

Additional forums will be held with Alumni Council, Faculty Council, AAC, SAC, Parent & Family Council, the Board of Trustees, and the ASG cabinet.

Communications

March 27 (Call for participants)

Dear Allegheny Faculty, Staff, and Administrators,

At the Board of Trustees retreat in February, the Board endorsed a pathway for the College that will allow us to chart a vibrant future for Allegheny as we affirm our commitment to the liberal arts and continue evolving to meet the needs of today’s students. As I shared in the State of the College address on Friday, I invite members of the Allegheny community to participate in a strategic planning process that will start later this spring to shape and define our pathway. The strategic process will be facilitated by The Hill Group, a consulting firm based in Pittsburgh with extensive experience and success guiding and implementing strategic planning in higher education and industry.

We envision working groups for three focus areas: people (student experience, enrollment, and employee development), programs (curricular and co-curricular), and places (campus infrastructure and Meadville area partnerships). There is overlap and the areas of focus may evolve as The Hill Group gathers information about Allegheny’s market position, but this is our starting point.

Each working group will include about 15 participants, including members of the Board, students, faculty, staff, and administration. Alumni Council will also be consulted throughout the process. The working groups will meet during the first and fourth weeks of June and the first full week of July (dates will be determined after the working groups are formed; remote options will be offered to allow for full participation). There will be a steering committee composed of representative(s) from each working group and the senior leadership team. The steering committee will meet more frequently than the working groups with an initial meeting on April 18.

Please use this form by April 7 if you would like to volunteer to participate in one of the working groups. In addition, nominations are welcome using the form. I will work with the senior leadership team to select members of each working group from among the volunteers and nominations, striving for balanced representation. My goal is to announce the members of the working groups before the end of April.

We will likely have more volunteers than there are places in the working groups; there will be opportunity, through open forums and other means, for input from the entire campus community. As this important work proceeds, the Board and I are committed to a transparent process that will allow all voices to be heard as we develop shared strategies for our pathway.

Our partners from The Hill Group will be on campus to host open meetings to provide an overview of our planning process with opportunities for questions and input. There will be two sessions on March 30 at 12:30–1:15 p.m. and 2:45–3:30 p.m., both in the Tippie Alumni Center Tillotson Room. A recording of one of these meetings will be available by request for those who may not be able to attend. Additional meetings in April, along with surveys throughout the process, will provide other opportunities for participation.

I am excited for the planning that we will do together, as a campus community, for the future of Allegheny. Thank you for all that you do for our educational mission.

Ron Cole, President

P.S. If you were not able to attend the State of the College on Friday, please email Ellen Johnson at ejohnson@allegheny.edu to receive a copy of the recording.

June 15 (Update on Strategic Planning)

Dear Campus Community,

I’m writing with an update about our strategic planning process that is underway. Following the call for participants in April there were over 80 employee volunteers — a wonderful show of interest and support for our process. After review and input from the senior leadership team, three working groups and a steering committee were formed. As a reminder, the working groups are broadly defined for ‘programs,’ ‘people,’ and ‘places,’ with members from faculty, staff, students, cabinet, and trustees. There will be opportunities for some of the volunteers who were not placed into a working group to contribute in focus groups or with assistance on specific topics that come up during the planning process. The steering committee is composed of cabinet members and representatives from campus constituents (faculty, staff, student, and trustee). Members of the cabinet will be liaisons between working groups and the steering committee. Each working group will be facilitated by a professional from The Hill Group.

The working groups will help to identify and shape strategic initiatives informed by focus group findings and market position research that The Hill Group has conducted and aligned with Allegheny’s institutional priorities and values. The outcomes of the working groups will be compiled and prioritized by the steering committee. We have also engaged the Art & Science Group, who will provide important market testing of proposed initiatives to assist us in understanding which ideas have the most potential and resonance in the marketplace (e.g., with prospective students).

A timeline for our process is provided on the linked document. Note that the campus community will have opportunity from about mid-August through mid-September to provide comments on a draft strategic plan. All of this will inform my decisions for the final strategic plan to present to the Board in October.

You can expect another update in July. I look forward to working together as we chart Allegheny’s future pathway. Thank you for all that you do to support our shared purpose of providing students with excellence in education and strong outcomes.

All the best,
Ron

July 26 (Campus Update on Strategic Planning)

Dear Allegheny Community,

I hope that you are enjoying the summer months. As promised in my June update, I’m writing with an update for you this month on our process to chart a pathway for Allegheny.

To start, you can now find information about our strategic planning on this new website. The website includes the timeline of our process, a listing of the working groups and steering committee, and previous communications about the strategic plan. The site will be updated as the project moves forward and will serve as a go to resource of information for the community.

As a quick update, the three working groups (People, Places, Programs) have completed their work and did an outstanding job generating ideas to build on existing strengths and new initiatives to consider. The Hill Group is now preparing draft recommendations based on outcomes of the working groups and information gathered from the campus-wide and alumni surveys and focus groups that were conducted earlier this year. The steering committee will now work with The Hill Group through early August to review and prioritize the draft recommendations. This will be followed by review by the Board of Trustees in mid-August. The campus community will have the opportunity to provide feedback from about mid-August through mid-September. In addition, Art & Science Group is market testing ideas with prospective students. The process is running as scheduled, and we are on track for a completed plan for the October meeting of the Board of Trustees. My deepest thanks to all who have contributed to this process so far!

For the remainder of this week and into next, I’ll be spending time with my family to relax and recharge. In early August, I look forward to continuing the work with this incredible campus community to shape a vibrant future for Allegheny College!

Wishing you well and Go Gators!
Ron

August 25 (Campus Update on Strategic Planning)

Dear Allegheny Community,

As promised in my July update, I am writing to share with you our continued progress on the plan for a strategic pathway for Allegheny.

We have moved into the public comment phase of the process during which I invite you to offer feedback on our draft plan. The draft being shared with you today includes concepts that will guide the development of our mission and vision statements along with draft values, goals, and strategies. I am deeply proud of the work and input by so many in the Allegheny community to develop this plan.

I encourage you to spend time with the draft of The Allegheny College Pathway and to discuss the plan with each other. As members of our community, you should see yourself reflected in this plan that is grounded in our history and moves boldly into the future.

We offer you multiple ways to provide your perspective and feedback on the draft plan through September 14. Your input will be incredibly valuable as we refine and shape the plan, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees for final approval in October.

Community Feedback Opportunities

  • Survey facilitated by The Hill Group
  • Open Forums for members of the campus community (students, staff, faculty)

Please refer to the strategic planning website for more information and for updates as we move forward. My continued gratitude to all who have contributed to this process.

I look forward to working with this incredible campus community to shape a vibrant future for Allegheny College!

Wishing you well, and Go Gators!
Ron


Timeline

NOV22–MAR23

  • Market research and benchmarking report
  • Review of past Allegheny plans and research reports

APRIL23–JUNE23

Discovery meetings

  • President’s Cabinet
  • Faculty Council
  • Staff and Administrative Advisory Councils
  • Faculty, staff, and student focus groups
  • Next Level Leadership Cohort
  • Alumni and Parent Councils
  • Steering Committee
  • Individual interviews (20)
  • Executive Committee and Board of Trustees

Feedback Surveys

  • General campus community – 80+ responses
  • Alumni – 1,600+ responses
  • Parents – 130+ responses

APRIL23–AUG23

  • Working Group Retreats (June)
  • Cabinet meetings to refine strategies and tactics (June and July)
  • Steering Committee meetings (April, July, and August)

AUG-SEPT

Outcomes reports shared with campus for public comment. Executive Committee of the Board reviews outcomes reports.

SEPT-OCT

Report and plan finalized by the Hill Group using input from public comment and review phases. Final review of market research by Art & Science Group.

OCT-NOV

Final plan presented to Board for approval and shared with campus community.

Steering Committee

  • Angela Haddad, Provost and Dean of the Faculty
  • Heather Moore Roberson, Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Ellen Johnson, VP of Enrollment Management
  • Linda Wetsell, CFO and VP of Finance and Administration
  • Matt Stinson, VP of Institutional Advancement
  • Ian Binnington, Dean for the Student Experience
  • Bill Ross, Director of Athletics
  • Alexis Hart, Chair of Faculty Council; Professor of English and Director of Writing
  • Sara Pineo, Senior Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement
  • Peter Bradley, Assoc. Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and Assessment
  • Nicole Recio Bremer ’25, Allegheny Student Government President
  • Julie Skattum, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Strategic Partners

  • The Hill Group (market position study and facilitation of strategic planning)
  • Art & Science Group (market research & testing of strategic initiatives)

Working Groups

People (Student & Employee Experience)
  • Ellen Johnson, VP of Enrollment Management (Co-Chair)
  • Ian Binnington, Dean for Student Experience (Co-Chair)
  • Bill Ross, Athletic Director (Co-Chair)
  • Matt Betush, Faculty – Chemistry
  • Barbara Shaw, Faculty – Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Director of INTDS
  • Rachel Weir, Faculty – Mathematics and Director of Faculty Development
  • Benjamin Bargar, Academic Department Coordinator
  • Gretchen Beck, Associate Dean of Students for Community Standards and Wellness
  • Carli Belosh, Associate Director for Donor Relations
  • Kate Costanzo, Assistant Director of Athletics & Recreation
  • Natasha Eckart, Director of Financial Aid
  • Leslie Briseno ’25
  • Graham Kralic ’25
  • Ramsay Smith ’23
  • Afua Osei, Trustee
  • Lance Zingale, Trustee
  • Curt Cramer, Trustee
Places (Campus & Greater Meadville Area)
  • Linda Wetsell, CFO and VP of Finance and Administration (Co-Chair)
  • Matt Stinson, VP of Institutional Advancement (Co-Chair)
  • Becky Dawson, Faculty – Global Health Studies & Biology
  • Michael Mehler, Faculty and Chair – Communication, Film, and Theatre
  • Byron Rich, Faculty and Chair – Art and Director of ALIC
  • Erin O’Day Frye, Dean for Student Success
  • Kurt Hatcher, Sustainability Coordinator
  • Jeffrey Jones, Facilities Maintenance Supervisor, Physical Plant
  • Allison Mattis, Office Manager, Maytum Center for Student Success
  • Marko Sadikovic, Director of Operations for Student Life
  • Andy Walker, Executive Director, Economic, Civic, and Community Engagement
  • Sarah Hoplock ’25
  • Lydia Wagner ’26
  • Aria Zong ’25
  • Mark Campbell, Trustee
  • Nancy Yovetich, Trustee
  • Doug Ziegler, Trustee
Programs (Curricular & Co-Curricular)
  • Angela Haddad, Provost and Dean of the Faculty (Co-Chair)
  • Heather Moore Roberson, Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Co-Chair)
  • Doug Luman, Faculty – Computer Science
  • Kelly Pearce, Faculty – Environmental Science and Sustainability
  • Ishita Sinha Roy, Faculty – Communication, Film, and Theatre
  • Brian Collingwood, Executive Director of Career Education
  • Sarah DiNardo, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions
  • Wendy Kedzierski, Project Director, Creek Connections
  • Jonathon May, fourth- and Fourth-Year Class Dean, Maytum Center for Student Success
  • Lisa Nicole Smith, Director of IDEAS Center
  • Sam Ault ’26
  • Bea Foley ’24
  • Ellen Yount, Trustee
  • Tom Sadvary, Trustee
  • Mark Maruszewski, Trustee
Consultants to the Working Groups
  • Peter Bradley, Assoc. Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and Assessment
  • Jennifer Dearden, Associate Provost
  • Trae Yeckley, Dean for Student Life
  • Kelly Boulton, Director of Sustainability
  • Penny Drexel, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Molly Smith, ITS Programmer/Analyst & Database Administrator