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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnell’s future: Do as you say, not as you bash

What do you want to happen to Grinnell in the next five years?

Thursday morning, Grinnell President Raynard Kington presented this year’s inaugural convocation—“Choosing Grinnell’s Future”—with the tagline “Deciding what we want to be and developing and implementing a plan to reach that goal.”

Kington presented the approach that the College will take develop the new Strategic Plan. If you haven’t seen emails in your inbox about strategic planning, then you ought to check your email more often.
One of the first things discussed was Grinnell’s last Strategic Plan, from 2004, and what resulted from it—increased construction, mental health services on campus, the position of the Wellness Coordinator and more.

After that, Kington addressed topics that may be on the plan this time around. What should Grinnell’s public identity be? How should Admissions deal with the country (and world’s) changing demographics? How does decreasing state support for higher education affect us?

The framing topics of the Strategic Plan, as set forth by the trustees, will be:

-Distinctiveness of Grinnell College
-Teaching and Learning
-Post-Graduation Success
-Alumni Engagement

At the end of the talk, we heard questions from students who were upset or wondering about certain things that had been said, or that had not been said. Many conversations on campus on Thursday were centered around these issues. Is the Administration trying to increase the size of the student body? Is Grinnell’s need-blind financial aid system in trouble?

It’s heartening to hear that students care about the direction of their future alma mater, even if these changes will take place after our time. While SGA President Gabe Schechter is the only student on the Steering Committee, there will be many ways for student voices to be heard. We urge students to do more than complain or stew in their rooms.

If you care about the Strategic Plan, check out the website at, and leave a comment. Text some input to 612-STRATGY (612-787-2849). Take the “Teaching and Learning Student Survey” that was emailed to all students on Wednesday.

Look out for more ways to learn more about this place that we call home for four years. This Monday at 9 p.m. in JRC 101, attend the “Student Participation in Strategic Plan” presentation held by Schechter, and learn how you can get on a Student Feedback Group. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., go see President Kington talk about College finances to learn about our opportunities and constraints, also in JRC 101.

Go ahead and bash the Strategic Plan, but don’t do so without getting involved in the process, because there really are a lot of chances to do so.

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