Charge to the Ad Hoc College Planning Committee

 Earlham College

September 29, 2011

 I.  The charge in summary form

Focusing on the mission of Earlham College, as informed by the College’s identity and values, and operating with a clear understanding of the challenges of the external environments in which the College operates, the Committee will discern the distance between where the College is (how it presently enacts its mission) and where it desires to be (how it would like to enact its mission in the future), and will devise a written mission plan showing how the College can move from where it is to where it wants to be.

II. The meaning of the term “mission” in the charge

By “mission,” the Committee is asked to reaffirm the present mission statement of the College, as it appears in the following sentence:

The mission of Earlham College, an independent, residential college, is to provide the highest quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Although the Committee is asked to reaffirm this existing mission statement, it is also invited to interpret that statement in light of what it discovers through community consultation and discussion and its own deliberations.

III.  Analysis of the text of the existing mission statement

The Committee may find it helpful to consider the following analytical presentation of the current interpretation of the mission statement. This analytical presentation does not change any of the words or word order of the current full statement (see below *), but it separates the initial statement of mission from its currently stated interpretation, as follows:

Mission statement:

The mission of Earlham College, an independent, residential college, is (c) shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), (a) highest quality (b) undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences.

Interpretation of the mission statement:

 (a) How are we to insure that the education shaped by these perspectives is of the “highest quality”?

To provide education of the highest quality with these emphases, Earlham’s mission requires selection of an outstanding and caring faculty committed to creating an open, cooperative, learning environment. The College provides for the continuous support and development of this faculty.

(b) What are the special aims of the “undergraduate education in the liberal arts” that we seek to provide?

(1) to foster active, involved lifelong learning

Earlham is shaped by a view of education as a process of awakening the “teacher within,” so that our students will become lifelong learners. Students at Earlham are encouraged to be active, involved learners.

How do we accomplish this?  The College provides extensive opportunities for students and faculty to interact with each other as persons, to learn from each other in a cooperative community, an important aspect of which is collaborative student/faculty research.

(2) to educate morally, sensitive leaders

At Earlham College this education is carried on with a concern for the world in which we live and for improving human society. The College strives to educate morally sensitive leaders for future generations.

How do we accomplish this? Therefore Earlham stresses global education, peaceful resolution of conflict, equality of persons, and high moral standards of personal conduct.

(c) What are some of the “distinctive perspectives” of Friends that shape Earlham’s education?

A basic faith of Friends is that all truth is God’s truth; thus Earlham emphasizes: pursuit of truth, wherever that pursuit leads; lack of coercion, letting the evidence lead that search; respect for the consciences of others; openness to new truth and therefore the willingness to search; veracity, rigorous integrity in dealing with the facts; application of what is known to improving our world.

IV. Specific features of the mission plan required by the charge

The mission plan will contain the following:

A. An account of what is, or should be, bold, distinctive and compelling about an Earlham education. This account should be framed and focused so that it can clearly inform the College’s approach to admissions, marketing and communications, and can be used with audiences that include prospective students, their parents, alumni, and potential donors.

B. A specific list of those actions the College should take to enact its mission more effectively, in the order of their priority and recommended sequence of implementation.

C. An identification of those things that threaten to block achieving the goals on the list of recommended actions and an account of how these impediments can be removed.

D. An account of how the details of the plan will adequately respond to the challenges to the College posed by the external environments, present and anticipated, that the College faces.

E. An analysis of the costs of making the recommended choices, and a pragmatic, achievable proposal for meeting these costs, over short (one year), intermediate (3-5 years), and longer (5+ year) time frames. It is understood that the full plan may exceed current funding capacity and require multi-year sequencing and/or future fundraising.

F. An explanation of how the plan is intended to help stabilize (and ultimately grow) net tuition revenue, grow the applicant pool, increase admissions selectivity, fully enroll a student body consistent with the mission of the College, and successfully meet the competitive market challenges of the higher education realm in which the College seeks to operate.

G. A means of assessing and measuring the success or failure of each recommended action. The plan must also make clear which person or office is responsible for making these assessments and outline the procedure by which progress can be continually measured.

H. An account of how the following aspects of Earlham’s mission might be developed further to help carry out the College’s mission more effectively:

(1) Scholarship, teaching and the curriculum. How should the College support and enhance teaching and scholarship/research, and promote their mutually productive integration and their creative interaction with the curriculum?

(2) Education beyond the classroom. How should community-engaged educational opportunities and service-learning programs, as well as co-curricular activities more broadly, including athletics, be formulated and conducted so as to serve the College’s educational mission?

(3) Education for peace and justice. How should Earlham’s historical commitment to education for peace and justice affect the future content and shape of the curriculum and co-curriculum?

(4) Education for global citizenship. In a world that typically grounds citizenship in the law of individual nation states, what is distinctive and compelling about Earlham’s education for global citizenship, especially given Earlham’s commitment to the shared humanity and dignity of all human beings? How should our commitment to global citizenship affect the future content and shape of the curriculum and co-curriculum?

(5) Education for successful futures. How can we ensure that Earlham will prepare students to discern and navigate their own unique pathways into futures that they define as successful? This concept of successful educational outcomes should include, though not be limited to, placement in graduate and professional schools, as well as in a variety of callings, jobs, and careers.

V. What is the timeline for the work of the Committee?

Although it will be up to the Committee to decide how best to organize its work in order to fulfill its charge, the Committee should complete its work in time for:

A. Presentation of a draft version of the complete plan to the community for review and comment, and to the President for his review by the end of May, 2012, for subsequent presentation to the Board of Trustees at the June, 2012 Board meeting, for Board review, discussion and feedback.

B. Presentation of a final version of the plan to the community for further review and comment, for final Committee review, and thence to the President for his review by the end of September, 2012, in time for presentation to the Board of Trustees at the October, 2012 Board meeting, for possible Board action.

VI. What is the process for formulating and recommending the mission plan?

A. The Ad Hoc College Planning Committee will present the plan as a recommendation to the President. If the President accepts the recommended plan, he will in turn recommend it to the Board of Trustees. It is expected that communication between the Committee and the President will be substantive and ongoing, such that the President will be able to accept and recommend to the Board the plan that has been recommended to him.

B. It is expected that the Committee will engage in a robust process of wide and deep consultation with all interested constituencies in the community, carefully considering their perspectives and opinions in generating the final plan.

C. Although it is not a requirement of this planning process that every individual in the Earlham community agree to every detail in the plan finally proposed, it is a requirement that the final version of the plan proposed to the Board of Trustees have the support of the Faculty and the Planning Committee.

D. There is the strong desire and hope that the plan proposed by the Committee will enjoy widespread community ownership. Accordingly, the proposed plan should respect existing community commitments, including Principles and Practices, the Diversity Aspirations Vision Statement, the Statement on Religious Life, the Curricular Strategic Vision Statement, and the Earlham Covenant with Quaker Yearly Meetings. In addition, the Planning Committee should very carefully consider and weigh the insights and recommendations of other ongoing discussions, such as those around the First Year Experience, counseling and mentoring for vocations and careers after college, as well as relevant consultant reports, especially that provided by the Art & Science Group.

VII. Membership of the College Planning Committee

Tom Hamm (Convener)

Jay Roberts

Wendy Tori

Nate Eastman

Bill Culverhouse

Terry Shipley

Neal Baker

Bonita Washington-Lacey

Nelson Bingham

Sena Landey

Ray Ontko

John “Chip” Scarlett

Ghina Sadek

Thomas Kumar Jensen

Cheri Jetmore

VIII. Administrative support: JoBeth Buckley

________________________________________________________________________________

* The current statement concerning the College’s mission reads as follows in full form:

The mission of Earlham College, an independent, residential college, is to provide the highest quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). A basic faith of Friends is that all truth is God’s truth; thus Earlham emphasizes: pursuit of truth, wherever that pursuit leads; lack of coercion, letting the evidence lead that search; respect for the consciences of others; openness to new truth and therefore the willingness to search; veracity, rigorous integrity in dealing with the facts; application of what is known to improving our world. To provide education of the highest quality with these emphases, Earlham’s mission requires selection of an outstanding and caring faculty committed to creating an open, cooperative, learning environment. The College provides for the continuous support and development of this faculty. Earlham is shaped by a view of education as a process of awakening the “teacher within,” so that our students will become lifelong learners. Students at Earlham are encouraged to be active, involved learners. The College provides extensive opportunities for students and faculty to interact with each other as persons, to learn from each other in a cooperative community, an important aspect of which is collaborative student/faculty research. At Earlham College this education is carried on with a concern for the world in which we live and for improving human society. The College strives to educate morally sensitive leaders for future generations. Therefore Earlham stresses global education, peaceful resolution of conflict, equality of persons, and high moral standards of personal conduct.

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