Over 250 members of Bryn Mawr’s student body, faculty, and staff participated in the four community planning forums, sponsored by the College’s Thinking Forward Group (TFG) and the Campaign Planning Committee (CPC), that took place from late October through early December. The principal activity at the forum involved small groups of 6-10 participants considering six different thematic groupings of proposals that had emerged from the last few years of planning activities on campus. The small groups were facilitated by faculty members of the Thinking Forward Group and by members of the President’s cabinet.
These forums had two purposes. First, they were designed to gather community feedback on the thematic groupings of strategic proposals that have emerged from the work of the TFG and the CPC: integrating constructive criticism, gauging the depth and breadth of excitement about each of these themes, and understanding how they relate to one another and to our historical areas of excellence. Second, they were designed as moments to apprise the wider community of the role of strategic planning in the context of a major fundraising campaign, and to share the evolving content of the work of the TFG and the CPC with a broader audience.
Participants welcomed the opportunity to participate in planning the college’s future. Their reactions to the proposals were reported in careful notes taken by a designated staff member at each table, and participants had the opportunity to share further thoughts about the planning after the event via an online form. According to the organizers of these planning forums, most of the comments were about the forums themselves. One student wrote, “It was amazing! I want to go again! It was wonderful to have a space where students, faculty, and staff were all on equal ground in terms of having conversations about the College.” Another participant, a faculty member, said, “Thank you for providing this opportunity for healthy and productive discussion by the entire BMC community.”
The information gathered from both the notes taken during the forums and the online form will be thematically reviewed, distilled, and integrated along with the extensive material gathered by the Thinking Forward Group and the Campaign Planning Committee, into a plan that will provide the framework for the upcoming campaign and the future strategic direction of the college. The next major step in the process is to prepare a draft of this plan for the College’s trustees to review at their February 2012 board meeting.