October Strategic Planning Update

Message sent on October 29, 2021

Kristin J. Stuempfle and Tim Shannon update the campus community about the strategic planning process for the month of October.

Dear Colleagues,

In many ways, our community is the architect of Gettysburg College’s future. Since the launch of Living Our Promise in October 2020, we have been developing the blueprints that will shape this institution and the education we provide for years to come. Thank you for your many contributions to this essential work, and for your continued guidance and support throughout our strategic planning process. It’s impressive how much we’ve accomplished together in one year!

Strategic Planning Committee

The Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) continues to meet regularly to discuss the emerging ideas from the Curriculum Review Committee, the Integrated Learning Committee, and the Structure and Resources Committee, ensuring that the developing plans will achieve the charge of our strategic planning process to reimagine our programs (who we are and what we do), as well as our structure (how we do it) and our resources (how we support it).

Curriculum Review Committee

Following a Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) update at the September 9 faculty meeting, the CRC distributed the “Curriculum Review Committee Report and Proposed Curriculum Map” to all faculty on September 10. This detailed document provided information on committee membership, the committee charge and key questions, the committee timeline and process, and the proposed curriculum map, including curricular requirements, learning goals, and rationale. Leading into October, the CRC then met with the Academic Policy and Program Committee (APPC), Student Enrollment and Retention Committee (SERC), department chairs, and held six open listening sessions, as well as a session with students organized by Student Senate.

Based on the feedback received during these sessions, and the insights gleaned from faculty emails and responses to the CRC’s online survey, CRC members met on October 14 and 19 to discuss how to incorporate proposed ideas. CRC members continue to have conversations across the academic division.

The CRC is revising the curriculum map in response to the feedback received and plans to formally introduce the revised curriculum at a faculty meeting later this semester or early next semester. Lastly, the CRC co-chairs have continued to meet with the Integrated Learning Committee co-chairs to share progress, identify areas of overlap as planning has evolved, and discuss opportunities for potential integration—an overarching goal of the strategic plan.

Integrated Learning Committee

For the past month, the Integrated Learning Committee (ILC) has focused on two major goals. The first is to formulate a set of recommendations for the Strategic Planning Committee’s review in November. The second is to engage with various constituencies on campus to gather feedback that will inform these recommendations.

The ILC’s final report is expected to include recommendations related to the following topics:

  • Advising and mentoring
  • Intentional student reflection
  • Career engagement
  • Place-based/community-based learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice

The committee also has been developing “guided pathways” to help students focus their co-curricular pursuits. The idea behind this work is that every student will engage with a set of defined pathways, each providing a wide range of opportunities for progressively complex involvement during their years at the College. These activities will then be part of the reflections that students create, helping them to better understand and articulate the overall value and impact of their Gettysburg experience.

Students will select from four pathways that mostly closely align with their interests and all students will complete the Career Engagement pathway:

  1. Justice and Community Change
  2. Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Social Innovation
  3. Leadership, Teamwork, and Collaboration
  4. Global Citizenship and Intercultural Fluency
  5. Career Engagement (required of all students)

The committee solicited feedback from faculty, administrators, and students during September and this work has been ongoing throughout October. Comments and questions from these sessions—including whether the pathways will be required or encouraged—have proven instrumental to shaping each subsequent discussion, as well as the formulation of the ILC’s report and recommendations.

Most recently, McKinley Melton, ILC co-chair, and Anne Ehrlich, VP of College Life and Dean of Students, had the opportunity to present at the October 21 faculty meeting and the October 28 department and program chairs meeting. During their presentations, they discussed the concept of the guided pathways, how this co-curricular framework was conceived, and the promise they see in the pathways enhancing student outcomes and the personal narratives our graduates are prepared to share with employers.

The ILC expects to finalize its report in the weeks ahead.

Structure and Resources Committee

As we have noted previously in these community updates, the College engaged Huron Consulting to help identify opportunities to further institutional efficiencies and how we might better align revenue and expenses. Peter Stokes of Huron Consulting Group presented an overview of Huron’s work at the October 21 faculty meeting, and Dan Konstalid did the same for administrators and support staff on October 28. The goal of these presentations was to ensure that all members of our employee community have a foundational understanding of Huron’s work and its high-level recommendations of areas that might warrant further exploration. As was noted in both sessions, Huron’s work represents one input into the decisions ahead for the College about aligning revenue and expenses. The work itself is neither decision-making nor determinative.

Next Steps

On November 11, the College will host an all-employee town hall meeting in the College Union Building Ballroom. To ensure the maximum number of people can attend, two sessions (1 p.m. and 4 p.m.) will be held. Both sessions will be made available via Zoom. The town hall is designed to provide a clearer and more robust picture of the opportunities and challenges before the College, with a particular focus on our current financial standing, as we begin the important work of right-sizing our budget and identifying priorities within the strategic plan in need of investment. We strongly encourage every Gettysburg College employee to join us in the CUB Ballroom or via Zoom for the town hall meeting.

In the coming weeks, the CRC work on the curriculum will move to the full faculty for review and the ILC work will be delivered to the SPC for its review. Finally, the College’s senior leadership will begin the important work of moving forward on the responsibility to align our revenue and expenses.

The College’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to receive a preliminary draft of the strategic plan at the February Board meeting. Approval of the strategic plan will occur later in the spring semester.

Thank You

So many members of this community have worked diligently and with great creativity to get us to this point in our strategic planning process. Please continue to provide your feedback and recommendations to the committees directly and through the feedback form on the Living Our Promise website.

We thank you for your commitment to Gettysburg College and our shared future.


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

Tim Shannon, Ph.D.
Professor of History