March 01, 2024

Strategic Planning Update

Dear Colleagues,

I’m encouraged by the number and depth of the comments we’ve received about our strategic planning process so far. Thank you! And, please keep them coming. In helpful discussions I’ve had with faculty and staff, some similar suggestions have been made and concerns raised, so I’d like to address them now.

First, I want to acknowledge that this strategic plan may be different from others you have encountered or been involved in. The final document will be a concise, focused plan—not an operational plan—that outlines Lewis & Clark College’s strongest opportunities to differentiate ourselves and inspire support among donors and funders. While many of our academic and cocurricular activities will not be represented in the written plan, we will continue to do them and do them well.

I’d like to clarify that the set of five draft themes that have been outlined so far are not the strategic plan itself. These themes are intended to guide us in the development of the Big Ideas and Initiatives that have the most potential to help us become more distinctive as an institution and point toward donor opportunities for our next fundraising campaign.

The draft themes were developed with the input of numerous faculty and staff, including the deans from all three schools. Many of you have noted the absence of a theme directly addressing international education and global engagement, long-standing hallmarks of our undergraduate college. “Experience beyond the classroom” was intended as a broad umbrella to encompass the many experiential learning opportunities we offer across all three schools, including global education. Given the input received, we will update that theme to more explicitly include global engagement and consider adding a separate international education theme. The important thing to note is that we welcome ideas and initiative proposals in these areas.

In addition, some of you have pointed out that there is no specific mention of research and scholarship. Of course, research and scholarship are at the heart of what we do. We are happy to adjust the language to more specifically address how research and scholarship are essential components in a number of the themes that have been developed so far.

If you have additional comments on the draft themes, please send your thoughts to We will make revisions after our next planning event, a Zoom session on Monday, March 11, from 9 to 11 a.m., on Big Ideas and Initiatives, to which faculty and staff are invited. (An on-demand recording will be made available after the event.)

This presentation by Fleming Puckett of EAB will show us how other successful institutions have aligned major strategic planning initiatives and fundraising. At this session, we will also share key information about how and when you can develop and propose Big Ideas for consideration and possible inclusion in the strategic plan.

On April 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., an in-person, hands-on workshop will follow. Faculty and staff who’ve begun formulating new initiatives, or thinking about the enhancement of existing activities, will join Dr. Puckett and the Executive Council. The workshop will be an opportunity to further work on translating ideas into strategic proposals that foster institutional and fundraising support. We anticipate discovering untapped synergy among the activities of the three schools.

We are moving forward steadily: My goal is to finalize a strategic plan as soon as possible so that we can begin fundraising and planning for our next comprehensive campaign.

Again, thank you for taking the time to be a part of this important resource-building work. All of us will find our efforts buoyed by the successful implementation of our next strategic plan.



Robin H. Holmes-Sullivan, PhD