May strategic planning update

Message sent on May 27, 2021

As the 2020–21 Academic Year concludes, Kris Stuempfle and Tim Shannon update the community on the ongoing activities of strategic plan working groups.

Dear Colleagues,

With the conclusion of one of the most arduous academic years in our College’s 189-year history, we wanted to begin our May strategic planning update today by offering you our deepest thanks for your unwavering commitment to our students and the mission of this great institution. Your dedication to the education we provide is evident through every interaction we have with you as Strategic Planning Committee co-chairs. We are grateful for the innovative thinking and collaborative spirit that this community has so generously brought to this important process to date. Thank you so much!

We are pleased to report that we are entering the summer months on schedule, as outlined in our strategic planning timeline. We are appreciative that our committees have remained thoughtful and thorough in their early work. As our planning progresses, we are actively discussing opportunities for broader community engagement and input in the Fall 2021 semester. This is an essential element of our strategic planning process, and we want the full benefit of our community’s ideas and insights. More information about these fall opportunities will be shared in the future.

Strategic Planning Committee

During the spring semester, our 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. Key takeaways include that Gettysburg College has a clear understanding of the changes and forces impacting higher education, that we need multiple solutions to address these challenges, and that we need to focus our attention on developing a robust and integrated student learning experience (inside and outside of the classroom and across the four years), and on reimagining our structures and resources. Several summaries of this important book are available:

The SPC hosted a strategic planning session at the May Board of Trustees meeting. The session included a review of the committee structure and timeline, emerging themes from the spring semester, and strategic initiatives that have been implemented this year (e.g. Virtual January Term and an increase in the summer hybrid course offerings).

Jamie Yates, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, recently shared the results of the ongoing distinction work with several groups, including the SPC, the President’s Council, and the Board of Trustees. This initial framework for a shared language and vision of what makes a Gettysburg College education distinctive was well received by all groups. The next phase of the distinction process will be to continue to build out this work and to begin to familiarize the rest of campus with it.

The SPC will be working with the Curriculum Review Committee, the Integrated Learning Committee, and the Structures and Resources Committee to begin developing a set of preliminary recommendations consistent with the strategic planning timeline.

Curriculum Review Committee

Since the April update to the community, the Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) has continued to reflect upon feedback from a series of listening sessions for faculty and staff. In these sessions, the CRC received insight on promoting interdisciplinary thinking across academic divisions and departments; integration across the curriculum, including the relationship between a student’s major and general education; integration between curricular and co-curricular learning experiences; and the role of a contemporary curriculum at Gettysburg College in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

After reflecting on the key themes from the listening sessions and subsequent discussions among committee members, the CRC is continuing to revise its draft learning goals and outcomes, and to discuss the essential work of curriculum mapping with the benefit of the community feedback received. The CRC will meet periodically over the summer to continue refining the curricular map, beginning with a full-day retreat in early June.

Integrated Learning Committee

The three subcommittees of the Integrated Learning Committee (ILC) have continued to meet on a biweekly basis, with additional discussions with various College constituencies to gather input and feedback on their work to date.

Over the past month, the ILC has set their focus on examining the key ideas and themes of Pillars 2, 3, and 4 in greater depth. For example, the Pillar 2 Subcommittee—charged with determining how we can empower our students to convert their aspirations into action in order to lead lives of impact—recently provided feedback to the Teagle Bridge group on how Gettysburg College can best frame and enhance civic literacy and community engagement for a new generation of students. Meanwhile, the Pillar 3 Subcommittee—responsible for enhancing co-curricular experiential learning—examined the meaning and application of experiential learning. Finally, the Pillar 4 Subcommittee—charged with helping students integrate their four-year curricular and co-curricular experiences—continued to discuss student success and holistic advising systems. Each subcommittee also reviewed and discussed their lists of ideas to be included in the ILC’s end of semester report.

This summer, the ILC subcommittees intend to hold fewer meetings of longer duration with specific outcomes for each meeting to ensure they continue to make notable progress on their ambitious goals.

Teagle Bridge

The Teagle Bridge, funded by a planning grant from The Teagle Foundation, includes members of the CRC and the ILC. The group is being advised by Dr. Ashley Finley, Senior Advisor to the President and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Partnerships at the AACU. The purpose of the group is to explore how we might leverage the power of our location and history to graduate students prepared with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to have a meaningful impact on the civic life of their local, national, or global communities.

The group has developed a working definition of civic literacy and community engagement, as well as student learning outcomes for the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are components of civic literacy. The CRC and ILC recently provided feedback on the definition and outcomes to help ensure alignment of the work taking place in the Teagle Bridge, CRC, and ILC.

The group has developed short-, medium-, and long-term goals, and has started the process of asset mapping to document the significant amount of civic literacy and community engagement work already happening at Gettysburg College in the curriculum and the co-curriculum.

Structure and Resources Committee

As has been discussed with the community throughout the year, 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. In partnership with the Huron Consulting Group, our Structure and Resources Committee (SRC) has continued this critical work that will include high-priority analyses related to administrative efficiency, the academic portfolio, and alternative revenue generation.

In our last community update, we noted that Huron would conduct an assessment to review all major administrative functions compared to industry best practices, peer benchmarking, and overall effectiveness. Huron has since presented its initial administrative services optimization thoughts to the SRC. This overview included Huron’s process and work to date, a breakdown of efficiency opportunities for consideration, and a more detailed analysis of all SRC prioritized opportunities and those additional opportunities with potential for a significant financial impact.

Most recently, Huron facilitated an alternative revenues visioning session for SRC members, which included reviewing Gettysburg’s assets and audiences, as well as broader market trends; reviewing themes and initial SRC revenue generation ideas, based on feedback from each SRC member; a build-out of select, high-priority cases in breakout sessions focused on audience—pre-college, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and continuing education; and introducing preliminary validation criteria and weighting options for consideration when evaluating the impact of each opportunity area.

Huron’s administrative services optimization presentation and alternative revenues visioning session represent two important steps towards gaining a fuller picture of the opportunities before us as we seek to streamline and strengthen how we provide a Gettysburg education in the years ahead.

Next Steps

Again, we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to each of our committees, and every member of this community, for their inspiring efforts to keep our strategic planning moving forward despite such a busy spring semester. As mentioned above, we eagerly look forward to engaging even more voices across our community in the Fall 2021 semester and, as a result, strengthening and building even greater excitement for Gettysburg College’s plans for the future.

In the meantime, please continue to contribute your voice to this important process through the Strategic Plan Feedback Form. Feedback received via this form is shared with members of the SPC. Our next strategic planning update is scheduled for the fall of 2021. Until then, we wish you and your loved ones a restful and enjoyable summer!


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

Tim Shannon, PhD
Professor of History