April strategic planning update

Message sent on April 29, 2021

Kris Stuempfle, Chief of Staff and Professor of Health Sciences, and Tim Shannon, Professor of History, update the community on the ongoing activities of strategic plan working groups.

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to share that the College’s strategic planning process continues to progress, even during this busy time of year, thanks to the dedication of our committees and the innovative thinking of our community at large.

As outlined in the strategic planning timeline, the Curriculum Review Committee and the Integrated Learning Committee are well positioned to submit their draft reports at the end of next month. The Structure and Resources Committee is on track to submit its draft report in early August. The Strategic Planning Committee will provide each working committee with feedback for consideration and final working committee reports will be submitted by October 2021. Please continue to contribute your voice and perspective to this important process, both through the Strategic Plan Feedback Form, as well as through future opportunities for community engagement.

Below is an April update, highlighting the latest work of our committees:

Strategic Planning Committee

In recent weeks, the Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) joined the President’s Council for a discussion of The Agile College: How Institutions Successfully Navigate Demographic Changes by Nathan Grawe. The conversation was led by Barbara Fritze, Vice President of Enrollment and Educational Services, and Rod Tosten, Vice President of Information Technology.

In addition, faculty and staff from across the institution attended a presentation on Gen Z by Jamie Yates, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing. Following the presentation, participants provided thoughts and suggestions on how Gettysburg College can best adapt its current practices to prepare this generation of students and provide an education that resonates with their unique intellectual, social, and emotional needs.

Members of the SPC, the Curriculum Review Committee, and the Integrated Learning Committee have continued to collect information and solicit feedback from key College constituents. Groups consulted this spring include the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the BOLD Council, the Parents Leadership Council, the Student Advisory Committee, College Counselors, the Board of Trustees (including current and emeriti trustees), and the President’s Advisory Circle.

The SPC will host a strategic planning session at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting. The session will include a brief review of the committee structure and timeline, emerging themes from the spring semester, and strategic initiatives that have been implemented this year, including the Student Support Advisor (SSA) Program, the inaugural Virtual January Term (J-Term), and an increase in the summer hybrid course offerings. Finally, the trustees will hear a presentation on the College’s ongoing distinction work and will be introduced to the Huron Consulting Group, the group that is assisting the Structure and Resources Committee.

Curriculum Review Committee

Since our March update to the community, the Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) has held a series of listening sessions for faculty and staff, where they received feedback on promoting interdisciplinary thinking across academic divisions and departments; integration across the curriculum, including the relationship between a student’s major and general education, as well as integration between curricular and co-curricular learning experiences; and the role of a revised curriculum in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. For community members who were not able to join one of these listening sessions, the CRC solicited feedback through an online form.

After consolidating and reflecting upon the listening sessions’ key themes, the CRC revised its draft learning goals and outcomes, and began the essential work of curriculum mapping.

In order to gain student input—a critical element to our strategic planning process—the CRC co-chairs, as well as the Integrated Learning Committee co-chairs, have started to meet with a Student Advisory Board, which will offer insights on committee work. These conversations will be ongoing, and the student perspectives gathered from these meetings will be invaluable to the CRC and, more fully, to the completion of our broader strategic plan.

Lastly, members of the CRC continue to read, review, and discuss materials relevant to curriculum design and assessment, as well as to examine curricular models from various similarly-sized institutions.

Integrated Learning Committee

The co-chairs of the Integrated Learning Committee (ILC) have been meeting with the CRC to explore opportunities for integration of the revised curriculum with the College’s co-curricular programming. Given that the ILC is responsible for bringing to life Pillar 2 (Teaching students how to have an impact), Pillar 3 (Experiential learning), and Pillar 4 (Integration), this collaboration with the CRC is instrumental for the development of our strategic plan. More cross-committee discussions and planning will be forthcoming in the months ahead.

Members of the ILC, across each sub-committee, have focused their ideation and discussion around a series of questions, with intentions of elevating key ideas and themes worthy of pursuit. The questions have centered around what committee members would expect to see, like to see, and love to see at the conclusion of this strategic planning process—and the associated timelines and priorities of the generated ideas and themes.

Teagle Bridge

The Teagle Bridge is funded by a planning grant from the Teagle Foundation and includes members of the Curriculum Review Committee and the Integrated Learning Committee. Dr. Ashley Finley, Senior Advisor to the President and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Partnerships at the AACU, is assisting the group with its work.

Members of the Teagle Bridge have focused on developing a working definition of civic literacy and community engagement at Gettysburg College, including the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students need to engage in this critical work in their local, regional, national, or international communities.

The group also has organized its civic literacy and community engagement ideas into categories of what members would expect to see, like to see, and love to see in this area over time at Gettysburg College.

Structure and Resources Committee

As we have discussed as a community, the evolving demographic and fiscal environment in which the College operates requires that we systematically reimagine our structure and resources to ensure their efficient use and greatest impact. The Structure and Resources Committee (SRC) is responsible for undertaking much of this work. In support of these essential goals, as noted, the SRC has partnered with the Huron Consulting Group.

Huron will collaborate with the SRC on high-priority analyses related to administrative efficiency, the academic portfolio, and alternative revenue generation. Huron will also assist the committee in translating recommendations and findings into the strategic plan, as well as inform our College’s next comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The administrative assessment will include a review of all major administrative functions compared to industry best practices, peer benchmarking, and overall effectiveness. This currently is the focus of the SRC. Only those opportunities with the most promise for improvement or savings will be examined in depth. After the completion of this process, the SRC will next turn its attention to the academic portfolio. The academic assessment will consist of building a cost-to-educate model that connects key components impacting the cost to deliver the curriculum, including academic structures, coursework, academic policies, and academic overhead costs. These assessments will provide the College with a comprehensive and objective evaluation of our administrative structures and academic portfolio.

As part of this effort, Huron is conducting individual and group interviews with members of the Gettysburg College community to more fully understand current operations, identify opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative functions, and to enhance the overall academic portfolio. With Huron’s assistance, the SRC will use this feedback to identify, review, and evaluate opportunities for improvement.

Thank You

Again, we want to thank every member of our community—for which there are many—who has contributed to our strategic planning process to date, whether through their service on our working committees, participating in discussions around efficiencies and institutional improvements, or offering your ideas and recommendations for consideration. Your contributions matter enormously.

As we all know, the work we are undertaking now will set the course for our College’s ambitious future for years to come. We are so incredibly grateful that this community continues to put its very best into it. Thank you!


Kristin J. Stuempfle, PhD
Chief of Staff and Strategic Advisor to the President
Professor of Health Sciences

Timothy J. Shannon, PhD
Professor of History